Tag Archives: Presents

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?

Little Big Guift Guide: Thriftiest Stocking Stuffers

19 Dec

Today is the last installment of a three-part series I’m doing on inexpensive, yet still fun and creative and useful, Christmas gifts. (Thrifty & Thriftier versions here.) The goal is to give items that would be a welcome gift and not just junk that will likely be tossed out at the end of the day. To be included in this gift guide it must be useful, lovely, and budget-friendly.This “Thriftiest” guide is the longest and most packed with ideas, probably because I’m used to having no budget to work with. I’ve had to get creative and I’m happy to share these ideas with you.

Almonds:  my Mom likes to put toasted almonds in our stockings. I think this is a great idea with or without a spiced, coated seasoning. My aunt once gave us all toasted almonds mixed with M&Ms, and in the days following Christmas I put it in a candy dish and visitors to the house fell upon it like they had never seen almonds or M&Ms before. Sometimes, it’ the little things.

Heirlooms: for my birthday my Dad gave me his Brownie camera that had been collecting dust in my parents’ closet for fifty years. I’ve been looking for a Brownie at yard sales and flea markets for forever, not knowing that my Dad had one in perfect condition all this time. It was his first camera, purchased when he was about thirteen. Receiving this gift was so much better than finding it secondhand: he remembers how it works and can help me open it and load the film.

Handmade: my lovely and talented twitter friend, Erica, crocheted a hat for a cousin and embellished it with buttons from her late Grandpa’s shirt. Such a wonderful, powerful gift.

Custom Spice Mixes:  my Dad loves to cook and he often tucks spice blends and rubs in my stocking. An even thriftier (and quite possibly better, in my opinion) option would be to make your own rubs and spice blends and give those instead.

Dried Herbs: Along the same line as spice rubs above, the last couple years I’ve been harvesting rosemary from my garden, drying it and sealing it in decorated plastic bags and put that in my family’s stockings.

CDs: I like to include burned cds in my family members’ stockings. The thing to remember with this option is to make it appropriate to their tastes. For my aunt I gave her meditative music she could paint to, for my uncle I gave him acoustic guitar-heavy indie music, and for my parents I gave them the nutcracker suite. Decorating the CD is a must.

Bookmarks & Artwork: If you are lucky enough to have some skill with a pencil or a paintbrush, you can make individual cards or bookmarks for gift-giving. I’m friends with a couple who did this and I still treasure and use them.

Your Own Recording:  aside from giving a mix CD, if you have musical talent you can give a CD of your own songs. A friend of mine is making one for this year and I can’t wait to get it.

Cuttings & Seeds: do you have a plant that everyone admires? I’ve had friends request cuttings of my Jade plants and other succulents for birthdays and holidays. My friend Jake has a ton of marigolds that produce seeds like crazy, and in addition to produce from his garden he gave me a cupful of seeds so that I can grow my own golden ruffled beauties.

Your Talent: Coupons are the standard for the thrifty gift and for a reason: they are awesome. Can you offer to baby sit? Do you give good massages? Skill with photoshop? You could offer to paint someone’s portrait, bring them lunch at work, make them a custom headband, run errands for them, bake them bread. Illustrate your coupon beautifully, and you have a winner.

Photos & Thrifted Frames: Christmas is the time of year my parents traditionally gave photos of us kids to the relatives (usually school or family church portraits). Since I’m handy with a camera, I like to print out some of my favorite shots of the kid and give those. Our thrift stores are always bursting with frames, so for under $2.00 I can give a lovely framed photo.

Oranges: Christmas is the time of year when citrus is in season. On her way into the Valley my aunt stops off at a local grower and buys sacks mandarins so sweet they are like candy. Sometimes they end up in the stockings but more often than not we dump all the mandarins out for Christmas snacking and then divide up the leftovers.

Thrifted Goodness: When I go thrifting I always keep my eyes peeled for things someone on my Christmas list might like. This requires you to have a pretty good feel for another’s taste, and the knowledge that they are cool with receiving vintage items. I never pass off something secondhand as new (though I know people who do). I have no shame in giving something that’s secondhand as long as it is awesome. For example, I gave my friend Stef, who adores both vintage and Yosemite, this ceramic souvenir leaf dish from the 1950s.

Homegrown Harvest: I touched on Jake giving me the fruits of his garden for my birthday, and this extends to stocking stuffers, too. Citrus plants are bountiful this time of year, as are apples and pomegranates. I know Californians like me have an advantage, but some things can be harvested in summer and saved for gift-giving now. Dried chilies, sunflower seeds, small pumpkins make great gifts.

Local Gifts: every area has something special to offer, and if you have relatives coming from out of town they might appreciate something you take for granted. Maybe you leave near the beach and you have seashells. My aunt, who lives near the ocean, gave us all seashells one year. I have a friend who lives in the city who has access to usual foreign grocery store items and I asked him for some packages of ramen. Each area has something special that could translate as something to give.

Kid-Made Crafts: when we give cards we like to let Isobel have at the envelope with a crayon first and people love it. When she’s old enough to make crafts you better believe I’m going to spread the crafty love.

Tea Sampler: If you have a few cartons of fancy tea you can easily put together a tea sampler for several people by including a couple bags from each. I do this just about every year for my family. It’s a great way to try new flavors without being committed to a whole box if you don’t like it.

Well, there you have it. Three posts’ worth of fun, creative, and thrifty ideas for stocking stuffers. If you have your own great ideas to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Little Big Gift Guide: Thriftier Stocking Stuffers

15 Dec

Today is the second installment of a three-part series I’m doing on inexpensive, yet still fun and creative and useful, Christmas gifts. The goal is to give items that would be a welcome gift and not just junk that will likely be tossed out at the end of the day. To be included in this gift guide it must be useful, lovely, and budget-friendly. Previously, I posted about Thrifty Stocking Stuffers, today we have Thriftier Stocking Stuffers, and last but not least, later I’ll feature Thriftiest Stocking Stuffers.

      Chocolate: I put a king-sized Snickers bar in Anthony’s stocking every year, and every year he looks forward to it. I tried branching out and giving him fancy-pants chocolate, but that turned out to be a bad idea. A Snickers bar is what he wants so a Snickers bar is what he gets. For myself I’d rather get some of these Belgian thins or dark chocolate-covered pomegranates, but hell, I’d be glad to get some plain-old dark chocolate chips as well.

     Craft Patterns: If you have a crafter in your life, you can support their habit by giving patterns in their stockings: sewing patterns, embroidery patterns, knitting patterns.

     ‘Designer’ Gifts: Give the designer in you life a font or a fancy vector. Write your gift on a piece of paper and tuck it in their stocking. I really think even a small gift, as long as it would be used and enjoyed by the recipient, is better than a more expensive gift bought with no real clue if the recipient will enjoy it.

     Rifftrax: Have you heard of Rifftrax? Some of the guys from MST3K get together and riff current box office disasters which you buy in audio format and then play along with the movie. This way they can keep the jokes coming without having to afford the rights to each movie they riff. It’s brilliant. It’s hilarious. It’s the most fun you can have while watching the Twilight series. I want to convert the world to that magic that is Rifftrax.

      Kitchen Gadgets: Spatulas wear out, pastry brushes become gross, and mandolins dull. Some kitchen gadgets are always useful. Also consider slightly more usual gadgets, such as potato ricers, melon ballers, or apple-slicers.

      Ornaments: Many lovely and inexpensive options are easy to find. I’d advise against giving ornaments unless you know the person you’re buying for has room for them. It seems like people are on one end of the ornament spectrum or the other – too many or too few. My aunt and mother started a tradition of buying each of us cousins an ornament each Christmas so by the time we left home we’d have plenty of ornaments for our own tree. If you have a friend or a relative with a new baby, an ornament a year could be a great tradition to start.

      Colorful Duct Tape: Duct tape in general is a wonderful gift item, useful for everything from making wallets, repairing household items, and taping ducks together (that’s why it’s called “duck tape,” right? I mean, I assume so.) Now it comes in various colors and patterns—even better! This is the kind of thing I’d want but wouldn’t buy for myself. While at my local craft store I found this adorable monogrammed tape and picked up a roll for my cousins.

       Hobbies: if you have a relative with a particular hobby you can almost always find something small to give them that would be both useful and welcome. Do they play D&D? Give them some minis. Do they garden? Another pair of gloves or a kneeling pad is always useful. Do they like crafts? Buy them another rubber stamp. Get a comic book for your favorite reader. You don’t have to get them something big to add something meaningful to their hobby.

       Napkins & Washcloths: I have friends who knit who make small things like a stack of washcloths. It makes me all sorts of jealous. They just crank them out like it ain’t no thang and they are just gorgeous. If you knit, share the love. Cloth napkins are another wonderful thing to put in a stocking. If you can’t find any while thrifting but are handy with a sewing machine, consider whipping some up.

       Boxers: I like to put a pair or two of fun patterned boxers in Anthony’s stocking every year. I don’t know what I enjoy more: shopping for them or watching him open them to find yet another ridiculous pair of underwear inside. Because they are funny it’s not weird to give with family. This is kind of a one-way gift, as opening panties of any sort in public would be weird for me. Boxers avoid that sexy connotation so they are a go.

Today’s installment was for those of you lucky enough to have a budget, but what if your budget was too strict for these ideas? Never fear, later this week I’ll be coming out with one more gift guide for really-low and even no budget gifts that still meet the lovely and useful criteria. Stay tuned!

Little Big Gift Guide: Thrifty Ideas for Stocking Stuffers

12 Dec

Today is the first installment of a three-part series I’m doing on inexpensive, yet still fun and creative and useful, Christmas gifts. The goal is to give items that would be a welcome gift and not just junk that will likely be tossed out at the end of the day. To be included in this gift guide it must be useful, lovely, and budget-friendly. Today, Thrifty Stocking Stuffers, and later this week, Thriftier Stocking Stuffers, and last but not least, Thriftiest Stocking Stuffers.

Instagram magnets: for $14.99 Stickygram will create 9 magnets out of the Instagram photos of your choice. My plan is to do this and split the photo magnets among family members.

Phone cords: for whatever reason, the necessary USB cord for the iPhone seems to always crack and wear, leaving exposed wires that result in a poor connection. I could always use an extra USB cord, and for that matter, extra screen protectors and replacement ear buds (they always find their way to the washing machine at our house) make handy stocking stuffers, as well.

Flash drives: I’m lusting after this key-style flash drive. Particularly useful for students and nerds! Especially useful for nerd-students.

My Etsy shop: Shameless self-promotion time! In my shop I have a number of smaller items that would make excellent stocking stuffers. Support small business and an active reuse market! Also, my thrifting habit.

Books: The thriftiest way to give books is to give away books you no longer want to keep (which I’m cool with as long as the recipient would be interested in it), or to find something while thrifting or at a library book sale. But don’t forget independent book sellers or even mass-market retailers. My dear friend Stefanie loves to give books at holidays and we all look forward to getting them.

Personalized calendar: for as long as my mother has purchased calendars she’s always had a cat calendar every year. Somewhere along the line Anthony and I started purchasing calendars for her as our Christmas present. After a couple years I had the idea of making her a cat calendar using photos I took of her own cats, and she loved it. When Isobel came along we made her cat and granddaughter calendars. She looks forward to this every year.

Shop Etsy faves: If you do happen to have a budget for presents, and the person you are buying for has an etsy account, take a look at items they’ve favorited through their profile for ideas. My friends and I started using Etsy faves as a wishlist and like to buy items off their lists when we can afford it. We know they’ll love whatever we buy them, and since we all know about this idea we include faves at a few pricepoints. We have had the issue of two of us buying the same present for someone only once (since faves aren’t an actual registry, after all) and overall this system works well. I love supporting small biz while making a friend happy.

Magnets: I always need more magnets, Instagram or otherwise, and by this I mean cute magnets, of course.

Gift cards: Gift cards aren’t an usual gift idea, but when times are tough sometimes the best gift someone can receive is a gift card for some much-needed clothes or a luxury they wouldn’t purchase for themselves otherwise. When my cousin had her second child, my Aunt Kay said she’d by her the gift card of her choice: a mani-pedi, a massage, or one month’s worth of a housecleaning service. (For the record, my cousin chose housekeeping. I would have, too!) I like to buy gift cards for iTunes, Target, Amazon, Old Navy, or our local favorite sushi restaurant.

Dishtowels: It’s common knowledge that I’m a dishtowel junkie. They are an inexpensive way add style to a kitchen—a room that’s hard to change without major remodeling. And they fit in a stocking perfectly, too.

Mouse pad: It seems like mouse pads have a short shelf life before they get all faded and gross-looking. Adorable options abound on Etsy.

Photo books: After Isobel was born I scraped together the three brain cells I had left and made a photo book for each Grandmother. I bought inexpensive photo albums at Michael’s and filled them with photos of Isobel, starting with a shot of my giant pregnant belly and ending with Isobel at three months old. In my mom’s book I included photos of her holding Isobel plus other shots of the family, and vice versa for my mother in law. We had these ready in time for Mother’s Day and they were a huge hit. The grandmothers had their books on them at all times so when people asked about their grandchild they could proudly show off their photos. After all was said and done they cost less than ten bucks each. You can always go to one of those photo sites for a more professional looking book, but they loved their albums and still treasure them. I ended up using a photo book service to make a Friends of Isobel book, which we created to help introduce Isobel to our friends that she might not see that often. (You can read about that here.)

Cute socks: Perfect for winter, warm, cute socks are always welcome in a stocking.

Today’s installment was for those of you lucky enough to have a budget, but what if your budget too strict for this gift guide? Never fear, later this week I’ll be coming out with two more gift guides for really-low and even no budget gifts that still meet the lovely and useful criteria. Stay tuned!

Thrifty Living: 12 Creative, Thrifty Ways to Wrap Gifts

6 Dec

Here are my favorite creative and thrifty ways to wrap presents for the holidays. Have an idea? Add yours in the comments.

1. Stock up on thrifted tins. I always check out tins while thrifting and stock up for the holidays. For a quarter I can buy a unique way to wrap a gift that can then be reused and repurposed later.

2. Use colorful paper bags and printable gift tags. When I still worked at the library I did a whole lot of gift-giving: coworkers, office staff, friends and student aides all got gifts from me. The cheapest way to wrap these gifts turned out to be colorful paper bags and ribbon from the craft store plus printable gift tags that I made myself. This was the perfect way to distribute baked goods and they looked so cheerful. Free printable gift tags can be found all over the web, but my favorites are found here.

3. Wrap an ugly box collage-style. I bought a lovely necklace for my MIL one year and of course the only box I could find to put it in said something dumb on it. I used a page out of a magazine to cover the top of the box and glued origami paper to the sides and it was transformed. She ended up loving the box as much as the necklace.

4. Try fabric scraps and yarn. One year I ran out of wrapping paper altogether so I raided my fabric stash and found this vintage green cotton fabric I found while thrifting. I was able to secure this fabric with scotch tape even though it was a decently heavy weight.  Wrap as you would normally for wrapping paper, add some yarn, and you’re good to go.

5. Embellish a plain gift bag. I can’t remember if this bag was plain or if it had a logo in the middle, but either way it benefited from some scraps from my collage file.

6. Reuse a pretty jar. I save jars like this throughout the year because I like to give spiced nuts and candy at Christmas. If your jar is pretty enough, only a ribbon is needed, though you can always paint the lid.

7. Use sheet music instead of wrapping paper. I have lots of musician friends so I had the idea to wrap their gifts in sheet music. I happened to have sheet music lying around, so I made copies of it specifically to use for wrapping. Collage paper, doilies, and some pink yarn finished it off.

8. Wrap with tissue paper and add a colorful bow. Many times the tissue paper is lovely enough to use as wrapping. I keep a few spools of colorful ribbon on hand for wrapping. I get it when it goes on clearance at the craft store.

9. Use a small piece of fancy paper for accent. A very creative friend of mine made me a necklace and sent it to me in this lovely packaging. I like how she decorated a plain box by adding a strip of fancy paper around it. I bet the sheet of paper was pricey, but using it sparingly makes it last.

10. Reuse a gift bag. I saved so many gift bags from our baby showers that I finally had to go through our gift bags and get rid of some. I didn’t throw them out, though! I donated them to Goodwill. Speaking of, you can find all sorts of lovely gift bags at good will for cheap.

11. Just add a huge bow. Sometimes one large statement is all you need.

12. Add a creative card. I don’t recommend giving tequila for every occasion, but in this case a lime made the perfect card.

Gifts From Canada

14 May

I met Jennui a long time ago on flickr. Her adorable daughter Charlotte was wearing this cute pirate tee one time and I thought it was awesome, so I told her so. She, in turn, told me she would send it to me when Char grew out of it, and she did, plus she sent other treasures.

Jen sent us a whole box of fantastic items, but here are our favorites.

Like these adorable bunny Chucks. If you know nothing else about my daughter, please know that she loves all things furry, but most especially bunnies. As soon as she saw these shoes she flipped out an insisted I put them on her. They are at least three sizes too big, but I humored her. She looked like a hobbit and couldn’t walk in them, so I tried to take them off. This was not to be tolerated and she threw what my husband and I now refer to as The Great Bunny Shoe Tantrum of ’11. We have since hid them from her because if she so much as sees these shoes she goes apeshit. 

This is the face she made when I asked her to say “cheese.”


I love these notes you’re supposed to leave for the babysitter. It’s useful, but also clever and funny.

How cute is this onesie from the 2010 Winter Olympics?

I will root for any country that creates such cute cartoons.

Thank you so much, Jen. Internet friends like you are a wonderful thing to have.

Follow Friday – Presents

31 Dec

When my family arrived for Christmas morning brunch, we immediately locked Jupiter in the bedroom. He doesn’t behave in the best of times, so we weren’t taking any chances. What we weren’t expecting, however, was Zorro to dart in between the presents and tear off bits of wrapping paper and bows. And the ribbon on Isobel’s gift drove him crazy.

Right now Isobel is sitting on my lap as I type, intermittently shouting out, “Isobel! Presents! Santa!” Good times. I saved all the leftover wrapping paper this year (it always seems like such a waste) and I’m using it as packing materials for my Etsy shop. In fact, I have two packages on my desk waiting to go out, and their fragile contents are swaddled in wrapping paper.  If you order anything from me in the next month or so, expect to find some leftover Christmas cheer in your box.

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

FakeeEtiquette It is always rude to copy that floppy.

theRratedBull Playing “The Game of Life” loses its luster when you’re an adult and play the game of life everyday.

lafix When people ask if they can get me anything, I always ask for a jetpack.

simontarr Pretty sure my father in law buys a new printer when his ink cartridges run out. He might actually be a genius.

ApocalypseHow Aqualunch #6thGradeClassicRock

ApocalypseHow “I Want to Know What Like Is” #6thGradeClassicRock

ApocalypseHow Enter Sandbox #6thGradeClassicRock

ApocalypseHow Blinded By The Masturbation #6thGradeClassicRock

schmutzie I’m still sitting here and eating chocolates. I think I’ll do this until mid-January at least.

louispeitzman NYE is the FML of holidays.

AnimalBullshit Pandas are gold-digging whores.

simontarr To be clear: by “libertard” I mean “libertarian ‘tard”. Different than “libtard” (liberal ‘tard). Or just “tard.” Which is “conservative.”

wawap There’s a terrible Facebook virus going around. It’s causing people to post old news stories as well as misinformation. Oh, wait…

thejohnblog Diamonds and perfectly timed declarations of “Yo Mama” are forever.

Greeblemonkey My 8yo has started saying “oh-em-gee” on a regular basis. So, yeah, he’s now officially the world’s youngest douchebag.

palinode My mother was a force of nurture.

eshep If you are interested in taking in some southern folk-art phallus murals, look no further than the Marian (NC) Truck Plaza men’s room.

phaemarie My nerdy teenager keeps herp-derping at me.

RailbirdJ Just called a guy abt business. I think he answered in a bathroom. On speaker. This is why I email.

ScrewyDecimal I didn’t have a commute this morning. I had an odyssey. It was the stuff of epic poems. I am Dante, and Brooklyn is the 9th circle of Hell.

shinyinfo I think I know this dude but I can’t tell. All ginger hipster dudes with beards look alike. #HipsterRacism

ordermeanother Merry Christmas, Bitches!

BadAstronomer All I Want for Christmas is Your Two Front Teeth #MerryZombiemas

BadAstronomer Have Yourself a Mary Little Christmas #MerryZombiemas

BadAstronomer Santa Claus is Shambling to Town #MerryZombiemas

BadAstronomer Little Drumstick Boy #MerryZombiemas

shinyinfo I got wished “Merry Christmas” by more Muslims than Christians this year. The “War on Christmas” is complete bullshit. #HappyHolidays

realMickFoley I wonder how many wrestling fans think of me when Marley says “Mankind was my business.”

The_Pigeon When making your resolutions, don’t forget to leave room for “letting the Pigeon drive the bus”.

CaffeinatedLiby I just found my cell phone in my bra drawer. I think that means it is time for bed.

MrWordsWorth All of Lifetime’s movies seem to have the same message of empowerment, if you consider ‘ladies, your lives are in danger’ empowerment.

guiltysquid Found some stuff of the ex’s in a closet that I’m pretty sure he’d want. Hope he’s up for some dumpster diving.

LaurelKS John just shot out of bed to be with his TV. Amused but concerned.

thejohnblog Let he who spelled chihuahua correctly the first time without Google cast the first stone.

buildingjason I am pregnant with the love-child of queso and shame.

almightygod Happy birthday Jesus. Sorry I wasn’t around when you were growing up.

sween All I wanted for Christmas was peace on Earth. But they were right. Just shot my eye out.


JerryThomas If the name of your favorite band has a punctuation mark in it, you might be a hipster. #sophisticatedfoxworthy

louispeitzman The coolest thing I did in high school was making a LiveJournal icon of Garfield reading the newspaper with lyrics from “A Day in the Life.”

Sigafoos No matter how appropriate, Elizabeth did not approve of my usage of the phrase ‘Present Orgy’ today.

Phineas It’s almost 1 pm and I don’t even care that I haven’t opened a present yet. Being an adult is bullshit.

smileydooby Its like I tell my 4 year old. If you don’t have anything nice to say, get a twitter account.

jen_talley 4 yo nephew comes in with giant Toy Story doll. “I GOT A WOODY!!”

jesus Overslept. Was in a cage match with Santa the entire evening.

ApocalypseHow Tucker Carlson says Michael Vick should be executed – specifically, “hung from a bowtie until dead.”

Sigafoos Oh, forgot to announce yesterday that I’m giving up my dream of brewing in lieu of artisanal Ethernet cable making.

juliussharpe Another Xmas of going home and telling my older relatives I invented Twitter. It’s just easier they think that.

badbanana Holiday vacation. I have reached a level of inactivity normally associated with a Kardashian library card.

inversejaik 3rd cousin’s pension now being discussed in great detail. #ohgrandma

colsonwhitehead Haters gonna hate. Butters gonna butt.


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

Transformation Complete

30 Dec

Oh man. I have become somebody’s worst nightmare. Here I am, sharing braggy photos of my daughter on Christmas morning. I’ve become… my mother.

I hope her extreme cuteness makes up for it.

Behold, this is the second of four Christmas outfits my daughter would wear. Why so many, and isn’t that ridiculous, you might ask? Well, yes it is! but the point is, we have family members to appease. The first was her Christmas jimjams.

We tried to give her a bowhawk again this year, but had to quit after. She would not allow her dignity to be treated thus.

Her grandparents gave her this very feminine car. Already she tried to run over our friend Caleb.

Although she’s not very good at steering, she does love to sit on it and honk the horn.

(We are firm believers in giving her toys geared at girls and boys to play with, so we were all for it.)

Of course, she got drums from her grandparents.

This is Christmas Eve. We’re getting ready to pick up Anthony’s grandma and attend a choir concert.

I love how she’s looking up at him.

I told Isobel we were going to go listen to music so she started singing.

We don’t leave the house without her purse. It contains necessary distraction toys. We grab it if we’re going out to dinner, or if we have to wait at a doctor’s office, or any place that we have to sit with her for more than a minute.

An older man saw her with that purse while at a coffee shop and he remarked, “If she can make it in New York, she can make it anywhere!”

Here she is at the concert, enjoying the piano.

And afterward, driving around looking at all the beautiful lights.

I really didn’t decorate this year. I tried, twice, but each time the cats made such complete and utter assholes of themselves I had to take it down. Their most favorite thing to do is chew on the tree and when I attempted garlands, to eat the fake “berries” on them. And then I saw Isobel interested in trying one. UM, NO. The only garland I put up was the flower one you see here (no fake berries) and Jupiter pulled that down at least four times in the three days it was up. The mini tree was brought over on Xmas Eve by Grandma. Of course they tried to destroy it, too. Basically, the theme of Christmas this year boiled down to “We can’t have nice things.”

As I mentioned earlier, we busted out the dollhouse I bought for five dollars at a yardsale when I was pregnant and we gave her some bunnies and some furniture to go inside. She loves it.

One of the accessories that came with the furniture was a little phone. She pretends to use it all the time.

Here are the bunnies. She insisted the Mama bunny and the Dada bunny be naked, and worked for a solid 45 minutes to get their clothes off. No, I don’t know why. I can only assume the Mama and the Dada are naked because she wants a whole lot more bunnies.

More phone time.

I was trying to take photos of the dollhouse when Zorro appeared. He’s all, “Did somebody say…. PRESENTS?!”

After viewing Xmas lights on houses all month, she was very excited to get some inside on a tree.

Ok, here we have Xmas outfit #4. (To recap: the first outfit was her Xmas jimjams, the second was her handmade Guatemalan dress made by a great aunt, the third was the plaid dress her grandma bought her for pictures. This fourth outfit I picked out. Because sometimes Mama gets a say, too. Fortunately, we were invited to enough celebrations to use each outfit. They were important to other family members and she had to wear them before they no longer fit. This is called “Family Politics.”)

She’s eating a cookie, one of the many our friend baked for us. Basically, she now asks for cookies five times a day thanks to Jake. I shall send the cavity bills your way, good sir!

I love this picture because she’s sitting on Dada’s lap opening presents, but also because my aunt is making a hilarious face.

My cousin brought a friend with her to our family Christmas celebration. Not only is she a friend of the family, but she’s also Jewish and was always curious about Christmas celebrations. We had a great time and I think she saw everything there is to see. Even the dysfunction. Hooray!

Oh, also she has a special talent:

Isobel had a great time laying all weird on the floor and singing to her farm animals. What, doesn’t everyone do that on Christmas?

Grandma bought her trick pants. She pulled and pulled by they were stuck together. Silly, grandma!

Christmas Moose makes up for it.

Most of my pictures of her turned out like this, as my daughter moves at the Warp Speed of Presents.

Wow, you made it to the end! You should get some sort of medal. Although everyone who survives Christmas should get a medal.

Gift Tag Goodness

14 Dec

This year I wanted to create my own gift tags for our Christmas presents. In the past what I’ve done is decorated the package with a sharpie and listed the “to” and “from” in the designs. The first ones always turn out really well but after that I get impatient. If any of you have ever received anything from me in the mail, you know my handwriting is a crapshoot: sometimes it’s neat and legible and fancy, and other times you’d think it was written by a doctor. Or a cat.

I really wanted to make my own cute, printable gift tags this year. I’ve seen them on etsy and I thought I could harness my photoshop abilities to come up with something pretty. I’d even offer it here because who wouldn’t appreciate a free printable in time for the holidays? Well, I’m embarrassed to admit, I failed. I mean, I accomplished making gift tags. I just utterly failed to make them cute.

I am determined to have cute Christmas gift tags this year, so when I failed to make them myself, I asked my Angela of The Red Star Designs if she would help. She agreed to let me offer them here for readers at home who lack the time or patience to make them themselves. I did not even have to specify that I wanted cute  gift tags because all her tags are cute.

Click the photo below and you can save the jpeg version to print them out. My personal fave is the green one with the red and white snowflakes.

Thanks so much, Angela!

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!