Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009!



Why doesn't THIS guy run for president?!?!

I hope you laughed as hard as I did!

Getting it out of my system


Okay, many of you know that I am really tolerant of most behaviors. I may raise an eyebrow but my personal mentality is that if it

a) Doesn't cost me money
b) Doesn't inhibit my own abilities
c) Doesn't harm anyone

then I'm pretty cool with what other people do in their own lives.

For example...

I don't care who you sleep with as long as they are two consenting adults. I really consider it none of my business. I'm not keen on public displays of affection though, so keep your tongue in your own mouth when you're out and about.

I don't care what religion you are. Are you a good person? About 20 years ago, I coined the phrase, "I don't care if you worship monkeys on the top of the capitol building - can you help others?" 'Nuff said.

But there are some things that try as I might, I cannot get past the judgment. So, I've decided to get it out of my system right now so that my New Year is free from my complaining.

Here goes:

1) In the immortal words of a friend of mine, "It's a vagina - not a clown car." Really, people. We're not an endangered species. Those parents with 8 and up children aren't raising their own children - their CHILDREN are raising the other children. When your eldest is 18 and your youngest is 2 weeks and there are 16 in between, it's a stretch to say you're parenting. I really feel it unfair to the other children to deprive their childhood by making them parent. It's not fair to them. One can quote all the scripture they want but no 9 year old will tell you they'd rather change a diaper than play. Let them be children. If you can't take care of 12 at a time - with just you and your significant other and without burdening your other children to babysit/nanny for free - rethink that whole overpopulating the Earth thing.

2) Public schools are all inherently evil and based on turning children into compliant factory workers. It's true. It's documented. It's a government run institution. That in itself should tell you it's FUBAR.

3) Quit quizzing my homeschooled children or I will start quizzing YOU *AND* YOURS! They're homeschooled - not retarded. Quite the opposite, really. My eldest child's IQ is over 165. Do you really want to argue philosophy with him? Quantum Physics? And I have a question for you since you publicly educate your children. "What about socialization?" Aren't you worried they won't know how to act around others?

4) While we're at it, quit asking me to donate money to your child's physical education - or even worse, have the child ask me to donate money for new uniforms for basketball. Do what WE (homeschoolers) do and PAY for them! Sports aren't an entitlement. They are a dessert. And if your child DOES ask me for money for basketball, rest assured that I will ask them a math problem first. If they fail it - no money. They shouldn't be playing sports if they can't figure out what 7 x 8 is.

5) Quit assuming I'm a Republican because I homeschool or that I'm a Democrat because my views are less Calvinistic than yours. Educate yourself this year that there are more than two parties. One of them actually reveres the Constitition and doesn't want Big Brother breathing over my shoulder nor do they believe that government is the answer to all of our problems but rather it's the creator of all of the problems.

6) WTF? What's with the dismembered baby signs on Little Creek Road? I'm all for right to choose or right to abstain from abortion. Your call. But my children aren't allowed to play violent video games because I abhor the images. Imagine the horror of my children as their delicate psyches are exposed to your idiotic signs based on procedures that are ILLEGAL in the United States. Shock and Duh. Do you really think that those violent pictures are helping your cause? You're as neurotic as PETA if you think those images are making a difference. And while we're on the subject - If you're a man, put down the damned sign! And PETA? It's hard to take you seriously when your staff wears leather Birks and carries leather handbags to go with the leather belts holding up their pants. Oh, and quit going to movies. The film is coated in gelatin - an animal product. And quit using antibiotics. I'm here to advocate for the virii you're killing who have a right to live - MURDERERS! (See how silly this can get?) I am the Lorax, I speak for the bacterium.

7) McMansions... Let me throw out a scenario - "HEY! Let's cut down all the trees to plant a McMansion that looks just like the other houses next to it! (Hamlet coming home drunk from a party to a McMansion farm - 2A or 2B THAT is the question... because all of them look alike!) THEN!!!! Let's plant more trees!" What moron thought this up? Someone who uses $20 bills to wipe their butt, I suppose. It's costly, it's environmentally unsound, and it's stupid. I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.

8) Control your pets! I am sick and tired of your cats spraying all around the neighborhood and my yard. The smell is atrocious. You should have to live in that smell as punishment.

LEASH YOUR DOG! Not everyone likes your pooch. It's not cute for them to shove their nose in my face totally unsolicited after they've licked their butt - or any other time for that matter. And clean up after your dog. "There's no such thing as the poop fairy." but apparently there is such a thing as a lazy callous jankrod.

9) TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE! For the love of God, people. I don't care how your colonoscopy went - especially when I'm trying to have a quiet dinner. I *will* answer your questions (intended for the other person on the phone) while you're talking. I *will* get my children to be REALLY loud so you can't hear your caller. If we're playing "Who can be the most obnoxious?" I'm really good at that game. Trust me. And seriously? If you're on the phone in a check out line, I *will* move in front of you. You're obviously not ready to check out if you're still on the phone. And cell phones in church? Are you serious? Are you expecting a call from God? My favorite pastor answered someone's phone in church by saying, "I'm sorry, Susie can't come to the phone right now. She's in church. Why aren't you?" Guffaws of laughter ensued to be sure.

Unless you're on an organ transplant list, nothing is that flipping important. Remember 10 years ago when no one HAD cell phones? You know what we did when we needed to be in touch with our children? WE PARENTED!!! We made sure they were around another responsible adult who had a land line. Cell phones are no more a babysitter/nanny than your 9 year old is.

10) Control your children! It's not a phase. It's not cute. It's irritating to those of us who have children who are well mannered and well behaved. I don't even have to spank mine. They understand the rules and they are expected to act HUMAN. Feed your children before you go shopping. Bring a drink for them. And for the love of God, don't buy them something when they act like animals. Whining and tantrums does not earn you a reward if you STOP. You are EXPECTED to be good. No bribe to make sure you are. What is up with THAT? Quit wussying out on parenting. And while I'm on the subject, if your child is screaming - TAKE THEM OUT OF THE STORE, RESTAURANT, SANCTUARY! We know YOU don't want to listen to it and you love them. Don't think that strangers that have no emotional investment in your child want to hear that EITHER. It's not a lack of compassion on the part of the strangers - it's lack of courtesy on the part of the PARENT!

I think that's it. I'll leave world hunger and poverty to the experts.

I am the Lorax, I speak for the impositioned.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What NOT to do...



Well, December was a great lesson in the best laid plans of mice and men.

Promising a daily posting when your father has surgery scheduled, your mother comes down with pneumonia, and other life things are there at Christmas time (like work, schooling, and mothering) was just... well, it was stupid.

Now, the Christmas tree skirt DID get finished and it was lovely. I sat on the waiting room floor of the surgery center waiting for news of how my father did and worked on the skirt. When the skirt bored me, I switched to knitting and actually taught a couple of nurses some knitting tips.

My mother thought this hilarious and was dubbing the small waiting room the "Craft Class 101". *I* tried to talk the nurses into leaving baskets of yarn and knitting needles and crochet hooks instead of pop-culture magazines like "Teen Beat" or magazines about Golf. (Are you kidding me? It's the only thing I can think of that's MORE boring than WATCHING golf - READING about it.)

Truth be told, I'm glad December is almost over. Whew. What a harried disarray of experiences.

OH! And one more thing. My scanner broke so I wasn't able to upload templates. Through 3 million updates, jury rigs, and finger crossings, it's finally working.

In fairness though, December isn't the end of the year's hectic schedule but rather the beginning. A week and a half after Christmas is my daughter's birthday. Two weeks after that is my eldest son's. Two weeks after that is Valentine's. Then three weeks until my sister and father's birthdays. Then Easter. April brings my grandfather's birthday. May - Mother's Day. June - Father's Day.

Really, my year is divvied up by spending money on birthdays or other family holidays. I said before that I don't have the type of family that appreciates hand made gifts. Christmas cost us a good grand. But you know, home made doesn't mean cheap either. Every year I watch as people spend hundreds of dollars on "supplies" to make things for Christmas when really, it'd be cheaper to buy it. Of course, the home made isn't there anymore but anyone deluding themselves into thinking that they're saving money on Christmas by making things needs a reality check.

I made over a dozen dozen of cookies this year. Some as gifts. The grocery bill for cookies was over $100. Case in point.

I decided this year that next Christmas will be spent away. In the mountains, in another state, something. I need to get away from the hectic pace of Christmas and take it back to basics.

Perhaps the Universe was telling me to slow down. Nah, I didn't think so either.

I'm a big fan of the "Law of Attraction" and am actively working on bringing positive things to our lives (my family's) this year. I would be remiss if I didn't also try to attract some serenity. LOTS of serenity.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Joy to the World

My eldest child, Jake, was asked to play with a church band on the 14th of December.  Knowing he'd be in physical pain if I said no because of his love of playing guitar, I gave permission.  He will be playing to a very upbeat almost gospel version of "Joy to the World."

It got me thinking about the joy I have in my life for things.

I didn't write any "What I'm Thankful For" on Thanksgiving because truthfully, I'm thankful for everything - good or bad.  The bad teaches me.  The good nourishes my soul.

What I want to do instead is write what brings me Joy.

My Joy List:

  • Listening to the girls laugh and guffaw and Mom's Night Out gives me so much joy.  I love that we get to go out and be "people" for a while instead of "wife" or "mom".  Watching the other ladies come out of their Mommy shells and be saucy and lively and even tearful is amazing.
  • Knowing that my children sing and dance, draw and write, design and dream brings me to a point of elation I never knew possible.  These little beings that I created growing into their own identies and filling their lives and mine with their music and talent is one of my biggest joys.
  • The thought that no matter how often I turn my back on God because I'm angry or hurt and that He/She is always there when I need Him/Her is a joy unto itself.  I often joke that I am God's problem child and I had a particularly huge serving of joy when the realization of not having to carry life's burdens alone finally sunk in.  I was often envious of people who could just say "Let go and let God" because I thought, "Okay, that's all fine and good but I have things to do and if I don't do them who will?"  Through a stroke of luck/misfortune I was unable to do my normal routine and Grace (and I do believe it was) made sure that we were taken care of when I just didn't have the strength (emotionally or physically) to go on.
  • A bigger joy was when my husband reiterated that to me.  "Honey, you know that God always takes care of us."  We don't talk about faith except to debate (in a healthy way) religion and our beliefs.  This was the first time faith was used by him to encourage and console me.
  • I am joyful that I am finding the happiness that I crave all around me.  I have cast off old relationships that I tried to force to fit.  I have surrounded myself with freer minds and souls.  I have found a community of artists that inspire me.  (Special hats off to Deva and Lydia here.)  At 40, I am finally becoming comfortable with who I am instead of who people want me to be.  And the more I accept that, the more Gifts I am given in my relationships and my life.
  • I am joyful that I'm not 20.  Really, I am.  20 was busy and harried and erratic.  40 is comfortable and contemplative.  It is reflective and inspirational.  It taught me about the world outlook instead of the *me* outlook.
  • I am joyful that I was not married to any of my ex boyfriends - even though many asked.  I could have said yes to money, travel, fame.  Instead, I said yes to love and my heart.  When I run across exes on Facebook or even in real life, I breathe a sigh of relief.  I was being looked out for even then and didn't realize it.
  • My biggest source of joy is my children and I know that sounds cheesey but they are so funny and so talented.  I couldn't imagine sending them away to school and letting someone else throw away the joy of being with them when they discover something new.  I can't understand looking forward to sending them away or "getting them out of the house." 

I chose to have them and be with them and they have brought me joy.

Today, find your joy and choose to embrace it.


Days 2 - 5 The Tree Skirt

This one is particularly close to my heart.

About 20 years ago, my grandmother (Nana) made a Christmas tree skirt for me.  It's vintage and adorable.  I don't usually do "cutesy" but this is cute and I love it.

Unfortunately, felt doesn't usually last through 20 years and attempts at spot cleaning it only proved disappointing and ineffective.

Still, I couldn't part with it.  Most of it is sentimentality.  I love that it's something she made for me.  I cherish it for that.

My only recourse was to remake it - exactly like she did.  Now at first, I wasn't too keen on this because it removed HER work on it.  It took away what SHE did but last night, I felt at peace with this decision for the first time because my mind opened to the possibility of sharing her work with others.  Suddenly, remaking her skirt was a testimony to my devotion to her craft work.  It was a partnership in sharing the love of art with others - even if it's "cutesy"

With that decided, I took apart the appliques on the skirt to reproduce them.  I traced each layer and made templates to share with all of you.  

I don't expect an onslaught of people making this skirt but knowing that I'm keeping a part of her alive by sharing her work with others is enough for me.

With your help, this will be done!

So, without further delay, here are the materials needed:

One sheet of felt in each of the following colors:

  • Yellow
  • Black
  • Red (try for a different shade than the skirt if using red for the skirt)
  • Light Blue
  • Flesh (caucasion, african american, latino, asian - you decide)
  • Tan
  • Dark Brown

TWO sheets of felt in these colors:

  • Dark Green
  • White
You will also need:
  • One sheet of gold metallic paper (sold with the posterboard)
  • One package of assorted sequin shapes
  • One package of assorted colored sequins
  • Wiggly Eyes in assorted sizes
  • 2 small white pompons
  • Fabric Tac glue
  • Gold rick-rack or brocade
  • 2 yards of 72 inch felt in color of your choice for the skirt.  (My original skirt was white but I opted for red for the remake.)
  • Ribbon for bow on reindeer
  • Small jingle bells (about 6)
  • Brown thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Embroidery scissors (because they are small and easily manipulated)

Below are the pictures of the skirt appliques.  I have put both "before" and "after" pictures on here so you can appreciate the need for redoing it.   You'll also notice that I added little extras where I was so inspired (maybe by Nana).  I wanted you to see what you could do and that there are many possibilities of decorating these.

Click on the hyperlinked pictures below (available tomorrow which will give you time to shop for supplies) to get the templates for these.  I traced mine on cardstock for durability in cutting.  If you don't have that, regular paper will do just fine but be gentle with it.

Santa - Before and After

Snowman - Before and After

Trees - Before and After



Reindeer - Now, this is only an "After" because the "Before" reindeer actually fell off of the skirt while it was hanging on the clothes line and I have no idea where it went.  We have searched and searched but my guess is that some little squirrel is using it for an area rug.

Wreaths - Before and After


Angels - Before and After  
(The original "Before" did have wings but they faded and ripped)





















Technical Difficulties


It was my hope to have a different craft up here every day but we've had intermittent internet for the last few days so I am behind in posting.

Fear not!  I still have the crafts for each day and I will post them as soon as the computer (confusor) cooperates.

Monday, December 1, 2008

On the first day of Christmas...


Poinsettia barrettes

Our first day is a poinsettia barrette cute enough for a toddler to wear, fun enough for a tween to wear, and sparkly enough for an adult to wear.

This is easy enough for a child to do with adult supervision (especially where the glue gun is concerned) but the steps are very simple.

What you need:

Red Cardstock
Green Cardstock
Gold Metallic Marker
8 mm Gold Sequins
Quilt Clips
Hot Glue Gun and Glue
Alene's Clear Tacky Glue

There are two layers to the poinsettia. For the first layer, I used regular red cardstock but for the second layer (that goes on top), I used a transparent red paper.

Each layer takes 6 petals.

Cut six petals in a leaf shape. The size is up to you. Smaller petals make smaller flowers. Larger petals make larger flowers. (Yes, I know that the red "petals" on poinsettias are really leaves but bear with me here.)

The petals in the picture are about 1.5 inches.

No pattern is needed. Just cut them in natural leaf shapes.

Next, draw the veins on the petals.

Now you're going to glue the petals together using the Alene's clear tacky glue. I work in triangles which is to say, that I glue three together and then put three petals in between those petals.

Let dry.

Glue the second layer of petals together in the same fashion.

Let dry.

You can add green leaves if you'd like. I think it adds a little more dimension.

Once the layers are dry, stack them on top of each other and glue the layers together using the Alene's glue.

Glue green leaves to the bottom of the flower.

Let dry.

In the middle of the flower, glue 5 (or however many you wish) gold sequins. For a larger flower, use 8 mm sequins but if you're making a smaller flower, you may want to use smaller sequins or even gold seed beads.

When the flower is dry, hot glue it to the quilt clip.

There you have it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The End... or is it?


I am officially finished with Nanowrimo 2008.

It was the biggest piece of compost I've ever written filled with grammatical and spelling errors. Punctuation was a non-entity.

That's beside the point, however. It's supposed to be trash.

After Christmas, this rough draft will be transformed into something of a Western novel worthy of my father's approval.

I say that because my father taught me my love for Westerns and turned me onto Louis L'Amour.

When all is said and done and it is worthy of some great cover art, the dedication will reflect that - that he was the inspiration for my book.

So many ends left to tighten, though. So many plot twists that aren't exactly as exciting as they could be.

Important details pushed aside to get to the meat.

Then meat undercooked in the interest of a deadline.

Fun, exhausting, aggravating, challenging, and I'd do it all again next year.

I'd also like to thank my writing buddy, Lydia, who prodded me to write and in the last hours of nanowrimo when I had a nagging headache, a house full of loud and annoying children, Thanksgiving and Christmas plans that needed to be done but her merciless nagging supportive encouragement got me to write my butt off.

I'd also like to thank my mother for encouraging typing lessons. 165 wpm makes a great deal of difference.

Finally, I'd like to thank the academy, the makers of nanowrimo, and most of all God.

You like me. You really like me.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Cold and a Writing Assignment Meme


Yesterday I talked about hating the cold. Today I will talk about hating the fact that I now HAVE a cold.

Not really. I won't bore you. You've all had a cold. You all know how miserable it is. You don't need me to remind you.

So let's move on to the writing assignment, shall we?

If you have ever taken the time to write a comment on someone else's blog then you know that most of them ask you to type in a security word so that spammers, hackers, crackers and phishers don't break into your system.

This doesn't always work with a tomato. :o)

It dawned on me that these are the weirdest set of words I've ever seen. I started wondering if many of them were real or made up.

As I wrote on a friend's blog today, my word was "Ablakey" Not the weirdest one I've ever had but definitely odd. I searched online dictionaries to see if it were indeed a word and I couldn't find it listed.

It seemed a Meme was in order.

Here is your assignment should you choose to accept it.

First, click here:



Now, your assignment.

You will go to a random person's blog page (try clicking "next blog" at the top of your screen) and comment to them:

"You have been chosen for a mission. Get your assignment here: http://eclectic-eccentricities.blogspot.com/2008/11/cold-and-writing-assignment-meme.html"

When you go to publish the comment, it will give you your "safe word".

Remember your safe word.

Take your safe word and create a market for your new band.

Yes, that's right. Your safe word is now your band name.

You will create a press release for your new band describing your sound, sample lyrics of one of your songs, and the next 4 tour dates and venues.

Rock on, dude!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brrr

I hate the cold. I really do.

I'd rather it be 100 than 10.

So much so that this was actually the first marriage argument:

Alan: Where do you want to go for our honeymoon?

Me: What about Bermuda?

Alan: What about Ireland?

Me: What about Cazumel?

Alan: What about Ireland?

Me: What about Jamaica?

Alan: What about Ireland?

Me: What about The Bahamas?

Alan: What about Ireland?

Me: What about The Dominican Republic?

Alan: What about Ireland?

So um, guess where we ended up? Cold, rainy Ireland.

If I hear one more person tell me how they've always wanted to go to Ireland, I'm going to sock them. Really. Right in the throat.

Okay, here's the weather in Ireland -

Rainy and cold with a possibility of mist all day and night.

You know what people say to you when you go to Ireland? (After the initial "Are ye Catholic?") They ask you, "How are ye likin' Ireland - ceptin' fer the weather?"

BECAUSE IT'S COLD AND RAINY ALL THE TIME!

Why do you think it's so green? BECAUSE IT RAINS ALL OF THE TIME!

Why do you think they're so pale? Don't make me say it.

I tell ya', give me a half naked guy serving me a drink with a little umbrella in it and I'm a happy camper. Bonus points if there's a flamingo involved.

As I type this, it's 37 degrees (F) outside. Okay, that's not the moronically cold -14 that nonsensical Yankees live in or even those Big Sky people but it's cold for here. Add in the moisture from the ocean and it's downright frigid.

Did I mention I hate the cold?

Mister Heatmiser is my hero.



Sing along everyone! I'm mister 101.

Brrr!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"T" anyone?


Prepare for a rant...

Rant? Maybe too strong a word.

Vent? Not sure that's strong enough.

Vant. There you go. Somewhere in the middle.

So... yeah.

T

Say it with me "tuh tuh tuh TEEE"

Everyone got it?

Top of the teeth. Tip of the tongue.

We're all on the same page, right?

Okay...

So tell me WHY don't people pronounce the "Ts" in:

Cotton
Button
Mitten
Kitten
Important

I could go on.

I was recently at an American Girl Luncheon/Fundraiser event and there were two girls picked to narrate the fashion show and luncheon. They were well dressed, pleasant enough, and when they started speaking it was pleasing to the ear until they got to the word "Cotton".

Cah - en

But it didn't end there because later one of the girls modeled a cute outfit with Mih - ens.

Heaven forbid they be cah-en mih-ens.

It's not that difficult of a word, cotton. Mitten is pretty easy too, or so I thought.

This led to a wonderful discussion afterward (you'll notice there's no "s" on the end of "afterward" nor are there on the ends of "forward" or "backward".)

My seven year old daughter thought the girls were hilarious. She thought they were intentionally misspeaking as a joke. She would say "cah-en" and just lose herself in laughter. "Mommy, where's my mih-en?" and guffaws would ensue.

I had to explain to her that this was how those girls speak naturally.

"Oh." and a slight frown of disgust filled her face.

"There are Ts in those words." she answered.

"Yes, there are."



"Look at her, a prisoner of the gutters. Condemned by every syllable she utters."

Sigh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What was I saying?

You know that feeling when you are about to say something and you get distracted and you forget what you're going to say? That frustration? That "it's on the tip of my tongue" but you just can't manage to remove it feeling? I just hate that.

I have to admit that I lose things more than I'd like to. Sometimes, it's because I have 4 children and one of them has relocated it for me. Sometimes, it's because hubby is being a "dear" and putting things away for me. (Notice how I'm not admitting fault in losing anything?) :o)

I lose my knitting. I lose my writings. I lost my mind some time ago. Sometimes, I even lose friends.

Okay, I have to admit, that sometimes I'm happy about that loss. I've lost a couple of chickipoos that should have been lost at sea as far as I'm concerned but I digress....

Facebook has been a terrible struggle for me. There's a fine line between the "I'd really like to know what someone is doing 20 years later because I miss them." and "Oh my God. If that person asks me to confirm them as a friend, I'm going to DIE because I'll HAVE too (out of some sense of warped obligation) and then well, there they are again after I shed them the first time."

I blame hubby for opening some of those doors that I thought I'd locked. >:o(

There are however, those friends that once I lost touch with them make me have that feeling that I forgot something and it's driving me nuts mixed with the feeling of stopping at a stop light but the inertia being weird and you never feel like you've settled back in (or am I the only one that has that weird feeling?)

There are three people that have really touched me in my life that I misplaced. People that I really connected with and at the risk of sounding corny, really felt a spiritual bond with. Through life changes, my self-absorption, or maybe even taking the friendship for granted, I've lost those three people.

The problem with psychic hotlines is that they never know anything substantial. They claim to know everything but can't tell me where my 10.5 circular knitting needle is. I can't call them and ask where my other earring is (the one I took out in my sleep) nor do they know where my knitting graph book is. Anyone? Where *did* I put that thing?

But eventually, when I'm looking for something else, I'll find it. That's always the way it works for me. I'm in the throws of frantically looking for my other flamingo shoe and I find my earring.

Tonight, as I sat down to the computer, I was looking for an escape. I had a horrible terrible no good day. Really, I'd only need a death in the family to have made it worse. So while I was looking for "something else", I found a lost friend of mine. Well, actually, HE found ME. Semantics. ;o)

It was the completing feeling of finally remembering what I was going to say after almost 20 years.

It was way better than finding my other flamingo shoe!

So here's a special blog shout out to my buddy. You know who you are! I've missed you terribly, friend! I'm glad life is treating you well. You deserve it. And I'm glad that fate shined on me today and I found you again.

... and I promise to be more careful with my prized possessions next time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A present for you...

Yesterday I thought about Christmas presents (or Channukah presents or Bodhi Day or Yule or Kwanzaa or Eid al Fitr - whatever you celebrate) for everyone.

Much to my dismay, my family doesn't groove on home made presents with the exception of my dear Mother in Law. And even if she doesn't like them, she's never been tacky as to tell me she doesn't like them. :o)

The only gift my parents like that I have made is an iPhoto book that we started doing a few years ago.

The rest of their presents are usually gift cards. It saves them the trouble of returning what I've bought them which happens every year. Just when I think I've gotten the perfect present, I see it in the bag to be donated to Salvation Army or they give it to me years later with the story, "I don't know who gave this to me but I never use it. Do you want it because I'm just going to throw it away."

OUCH!

So, the photo books are easy enough.

The hardest part is actually putting all of the photos together, Photoshopping them so they look good, and laying out the order.

My children are very photogenic (thankfully) and because I used to work as a photographer, I've trained them early on "good shots" and how to "pose" although I love candid shots too.

But not all of us have children and not all of us like to take pictures and not all of us want a bunch of pictures or books sitting around either.

So, I thought of weird presents that are so bizarre, someone will surely love them. Some of these things will be patterns I've written that were inspired by other people's work. (No copyright infringement - just my own twist on their ideas.)

Other things will be unusual gifts that aren't necessarily tied to the holidays (which is good because then you can use them all year long!)

Some things will be geared toward children (although you should know right now that I don't do popsicle sticks and glue stuff with my children - we're too cool and talented for that crap and so are you.) But I promise I'll make it easy and unique and fun.

Still other things will be adults only gifts. These may even be X-rated so if your'e squeamish, be forewarned. I'll put a warning on them though that they are not safe for work or around children (NSFW/NSFC). You'll have to look at them at home and when the children are asleep.

By the way, the Christmas music has started at my house so I'm in the mood to craft, bake, decorate, and create. I hope that these ideas, activities, desserts, and crafts (did she just type DESSERTS? Did she really? Is there a chance they are CHOCOLATE? Why yes, a VERY good chance!)

Anyway, starting December 1st, you'll find a new pattern, activity, or recipe here EVERY DAY until December 24th. After that, you're on your own and you get a raised eyebrow from me for waiting so long!

And because I don't want you to return them, exchange them, or regift them, you tell me what YOU'D like to see and I'll see if I can slip the word to Santa... or a little snow bird. :o)

Friday, November 7, 2008

What was she THINKING?

I'm going to say it. My friends (the majority, that is) are going to hate me for doing so but I just can't keep it in any longer.

WHAT THE HELL WAS MICHELLE OBAMA THINKING WHEN SHE PICKED THAT DRESS???

Thank God Blackwell is already dead although I suspect he was rolling over in his grave election night.

I'm sure on someone that dress is fitting. She'll probably also have dead-white skin, dyed black hair, fishnet stockings with rips in it, fingerless gloves, and black fingernails and lips. She'd be so Goth she's dead.

Really, people. At what point do your best girlfriends not tell you, "Oh, my God. I wouldn't and you shouldn't either." ?

Let me break it down for you.

What do these two pictures have in common?





So I have to ask myself, "Freudian slip?" or just bad taste. Because if *I* see this comparison, you can bet others will too.

There's no shame in talking to a fashion expert about what is appropriate to wear. The shame is in the designers that lie to make their designs coveted.

Michelle, really, next time? Please consult Stacy London before you go to a big shindig that people will remember FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Driver Picks the music, Shotgun shuts his cakehole

I have a confession:

I love Christmas music. I could really listen to it all year long.

It's not so much that the songs are brilliant or even particularly breath-taking (although I'd say that Ave Maria or Oh Holy Night were), it's that they are familiar. They are easy to sing along to because since childhood, no matter what your faith, you've heard them.

I love the comfort and familiarity of them. Nothing evokes strong emotions in me like the memories I have of family gatherings with a soundtrack of love, fun, and goodwill toward men in the background.

I boastfully dare anyone to compare their Christmas music collection to mine. You just can't. My iTunes account says that should I listen to my Christmas music non-stop, it would take me almost a month. Simply put, I am the Christmas Music Goddess.

The familiarity and comfort of music isn't just at Christmastime. I am a huge fan of Classic Rock for the same reason. I know the songs. I grew up with them. They are part of who I am.

It's no wonder then that in my car you have two choices of music - Jazz or Classic Rock.

I know the words so I can mindlessly sing along and not have to actively listen while I'm driving. In other words, it's too distracting to listen to new music while I drive.

As my children enter their tweens and teens, we've embarked upon a new problem - Can I listen to xyz?

No.

Each of my children have iPods but we often play a game called "Radio DJ". When I ride shotgun, I get to be radio DJ because even though I'm not pushing the pedals or turning the steering wheel, I'm still mentally driving. I'm watching exits, idiots on the road, etc. I may take requests. I may surprise a child with a song I know they love but mostly, I control the music.

I'd love to say I'm not being controlling but I know I am. With four children each going in their own directions, no say in politics, no say in how others live, I feel that having to be in control of the music in the car is a small thing to ask.

My car. My radio.



Don't like what's on the radio? Turn on your iPod and shut your cakehole.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Eve


My friends have been nagging me to write a political blog post since I'm so outspoken in person about politics but my thought was - you guys don't want to hear me regurgitate some "There are more than two parties, people!" diatribe to all of you.

I'm tired of the commercials, you're tired of the commercials... the last thing you need is one more endorsement to make you go insane and kill your neighbors. "He was always so quiet and kept to himself." you'd hear the other neighbors say on the 6 o'clock news.

Instead, I'll give you my dream cabinet. If *I* were in charge of the world.

These choices were based not just on International opinion of us because face it, I've put some scary mothers in charge of security. It's also based on the caricatures these departments have become and the ease in which we, as a society, place a character in a role instead of knowing what they truly represent.

Some appointments were simply for my amusement and hopefully the amusement of others around me.

And I cannot go without crediting my husband, Alan, for his vital contributions to this list. Who knew that Chong was really the drug expert and not Cheech?

Though we have long since ceased to be under a monarchy, I like to think of us (Alan and myself) as the King and Queen of this new political era.

Those of you disgusted with two-party systems and hoping for REAL change and not the other head of this two-headed beast called the Republicats or Demopubs pay close attention. You do not have to suffer your electile dysfunction alone!

YOU CAN WRITE IN A NAME!

Years past have always produced one particular name in American Politics - proof that you need not be qualified for the position if the people want you badly enough but truth be told, those that think McCain too old should really stop writing in "Mickey Mouse." First, he's a mouse. There's no chair that's going to fit him and unless Algernon is running as his VP, we're not going to get a lot of serious national commitment out of him.

Instead, I present you with OUR vision for national leaders:

President - Martin Sheen
Vice President - Arnold Schwartznegger
Secretary of Defense - Chuck Norris
Chief of Staff - Christopher Walken
Secretary of State - Bill Mahr
National Security Advisor - Sylvester Stallone
Secretary of the Treasury - Ben Stein
Attorney General - Jack Nicholson
Secretary of Homeland Security - Bruce Willis
Secretary of the Interior - Woody Harrelson
Secretary of Agriculture - Willie Nelson
Secretary of Commerce - Paris Hilton
Secretary of Labor - Sally Field
Secretary of Health and Human Services - Richard Simmons
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Martha Stewart
Secretary of Transportation - Dale Earnhart, Jr.
Secretary of Energy - Ed Begley, Jr.
Secretary of Education - Morgan "The Batman" Freeman
Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Oliver Stone
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency - Bear Grylls
Director of the Office of Management and Budget - Dave Ramsey
Director of the National Drug Control Policy - Tommy Chong
United States Trade Representative - Kyle MacDonald (the red paper clip guy - look him up!)
Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System - Donald Trump
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration - Abe Vigoda
Director of National Intelligence - Fred Thompson
And my personal favorite ....
Whitehouse Spokesperson/Press Secretary - Antonio Banderas. (If I have
to watch these impromptu and boring interruptions, I want to have some eye candy.)


Thank you.

God bless you and God bless America!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Instant Make-over

I love any TV show or magazine that shows before and after makeovers. I know that they're trivial and focus on the physical only. I understand that they're shallow. I love them all the same however.

It's no wonder then that Halloween gives me the same kind of joy.

Before and After.

Here is Katy getting ready for Halloween. At 7, she wore this skin-tight leopard suit much to my dismay. I can blame my mother who bought it for her, I guess. Truth is, I liked that she wanted to be a leopard. She saw Cats a few months ago and decided then that this is what she was going to be. I think I was just uncomfortable with the tightness of the costume and remarked that she was merely missing the pole.

She was beautiful however. Lots of compliments for my little leopardess.





















Fun, huh?

Not to be outdone, Caleb went as a gargoyle. He loved it. I was so impressed with his decision and he totally got into the role.





















Spooky!!!

Who said those art and theatre degrees were a waste!?!

Of course, you can't trick or treat without bags, right? Those were the next items on the agenda. (Because I do everything backward, doncha' know.)

This was so simple. We made the bags ourselves out of some scrap canvas I had.

After searching the Web for pumpkin stencils, I got the idea to use the same stencils to paint our bags.

I am so smart it's scary, I tell you. People should name a country after me. Hubby says they already have, "Turkey." See how hard it is to get good help?

Some black acrylic paint, a pumpkin stencil all cut out, some semi-tacky (just like me) spray adhesive so the paper will stay stuck to the fabric, some brushes, and we were in business.

It's always better to paint or decorate an item before you sew it up so that's what we did. This was so easy and the results were quite boutique-ish, I thought.





















Both of them claim they'll use these bags after Halloween so we're also reducing, reusing, and recycling!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!







Saturday, October 25, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night...


Well, I've committed to the whole NanoWriMo experience.

I don't know why this makes me nervous because realistically, no one will ever see it, no one really has an expectations from me as a writer, and it's not like I'm getting paid for doing it.

That said, maybe I'm more anxious than nervous.

My story is actually going to be about the Pony Express.

I'm a huge Western fan and my beef (ha ha!) is that there aren't a lot of them.

I mean, really! We get one Western a year in the movies (that are all usually pretty good) but it leaves me wanting another.

There will never be another Western as good as "The Outlaw Josey Wales" It is perfection. I'm not asking for perfection (okay, maybe I am) but where are the days of Gunsmoke, Bonanza, or Rawhide? Where is the next Louis L'Amour?


You know what's sad? The best Western series I've seen in a while is a sci-fi series (Firefly) that's no longer in production.

It's gotten so bad in the lack of a good Western that Australia is now becoming the runner up for best Westerns (not to be confused with the hotel chain.) Their Westerns are as good (if not sometimes better) than American ones... or those Spaghetti Westerns that PRETENDED to be American ones.

So, Clint, this one's for you and Marion and Roy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grasping for joy


Today has not been a good day. Normally, I try to keep things light and fun and poke fun at the obvious. I try to find even the dark humor in things but today is not that day.

The mundane is that my husband is sick and so am I... completely different things, though. Another kidney/bladder infection for me, I'm afraid. I need a punch card. Get 10 and get a weekend in a resort free.

More serious is the news around me. I could make a joke about politics but that's not what's serious. That's the same players with a different name, my friends.

I had someone I really admire die last week. It upset me then and seems to grow heavier on my mind as the month wears on. It's a regret, really. A regret that I didn't get to know her better sooner. She was in her 80s and still contributing with ever fiber of her being to the community. It saddens me to think of all of the things I could have learned from her and didn't take time to do. That may be selfish, I don't know. I *do* know that I'm sad for not making an effort to share more life with her.

On the heels of that, my best friend in the world told me tonight that she's undergoing tests for cancer. My girlfriend and I have been through more together than I imagine most people have- no, I'm pretty confident in saying that we've been through a lot of serious stuff together and more than the majority of people will ever have to deal with and not end up in prison. We have shared laughs, loves, jokes, tears, good times and bad times. She is already a cancer survivor. Truth is, she's a survivor of a lot of terrible things - loss of a twin sibling, cancer, never knowing her real father, a bad marriage ending in an apathetic divorce, two children who really should be more appreciative of her, a brain injury (which I tease her only compliments her natural blondeness)... but through it all, she is always the one that's first on the phone to make you laugh or make sure your menial complaints seem as important as her cancer. I truly don't know anyone who will ever be a sister to me like she is and I'm being selfish again. I refuse to let anything bad happen to her - even if I have to punch cancer in the face personally.

I have already let her know that I will be with her at every appointment, smuggling in martinis, and singing Tony Bennet (she doesn't even LIKE Tony Bennet but it will make her laugh) or whatever else it takes to be by her side. I may even sing into a kitchen utensil... (What *is* it with these chick flicks and people singing into kitchen utensils???)

So tonight (and every night), I'm thankful to have her as my best friend and even more thankful that we're both A positive... should the need ever arise.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside

It's probably not as cold as some places but when you have a 30 degree temperature drop in 24 hours, 57 feels REALLY cold.

It's sweatah weathah, in other words. Cold... rainy... drizzly... yep. Time to sport the sweaters.

I told you before about the Drive Thru Sweater and I cannot sing of its praises highly enough! It's so easy and so quick and you can put whatever designs on it you choose. Done in the round and based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's formulations, this sweater... well, it just ROCKS! A pattern for only $5.50 and it's in sizes from 2T to size 16 - really, where can you get a better deal???

After making one for Katy, Katy's assignment was to make one for Connor. I was a "bad girl", though and jumped right in to make one for him too. Did I mention how much I like this sweater pattern?


What a handsome little GQ guy!!! The best part of this sweater? When we put it on him, he immediately said, "Mommy did!" "Booful Sweater!" (That would be "Mommy did this!" and "Beautiful sweater!" This little boy just makes my heart melt. Such a sweet little monkey.

And speaking of monkeys, I finally got a picture from my hubby of the monkey I made him to stay with him at work.

Many of you are aware I'm a huge JoCo fan (Johnathon Coulton). One of his songs is entitled "Code Monkey" and is about a man who writes computer code for a living. This is NSFW, btw and not really safe around children but here's the song:


This is the monkey:
I made the eyes out of Fimo and then a couple of dabs of white paint for the "sparkle" in his eyes. You know what would be cuter? To buy a tambourine from the Dollar Tree, disassemble it for the clinky things and have the monkey hold cymbals.

Yeah, I know. I have WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY too much time on my hands.

Right now, I'm working on an amigurumi sock monkey for a friend of mine's little girl. She has sock monkey pants and I just happen to think that's one of the coolest things on the planet. Now she needs a sock monkey to go with them.

I really don't have a monkey fetish. Truth be known, I'm a flamingo girl myself. Sometimes, though, you just gotta' go a little bananas.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

South of the Border Ornaments in Crochet


This has been a fun diversion.

I've removed the chili pepper ornament post that was originally here so that I could put all the patterns in one spot.

As you can see by the picture, added to the mix is a sombrero/mariachi hat, cactus, and a blanket.

These were designed for a project to make and send ornaments to the troops overseas.

We have lots of themes, but this one seemed lacking in online resources so I thought I'd design my own patterns for it!

Now, I'm not the best pattern designer out there so if you have any problems, please let me know. If you're like me, you manipulate patterns to work for you so I encourage you to try that first.

Have fun!

For Patterns, CLICK HERE

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Witches, flying monkeys, and glow in the dark yarn


A lot going on these last couple of weeks.

Let's start with witches.

To summarize an e-mail I wrote about this event, here we go:

We went to Busch Gardens last weekend and as is typical, Jake's dragging me through all of the haunted mansions where they are in costume and jump out at you. While I do admit it fun to
be scared, well, they have this down to a science - let me tell you. My heart was beating a mile a minute.

We came upon a group of "Witches" that were huddling and I thought they were going to scare us but I heard one of them say, "Is she okay?" so we stopped. She collapsed in my arms.

Jake and I immediately went into action. We start removing her mask (did you know that some masks ZIP???) We finally remove it and she's VERY hot. Her eyes are closed and I'm concerned she may have heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Jake gets water for her and starts
removing the gloves she has on. We work in tandem getting rough vitals and statistics from her - she has no idea what day of the week it is or who the President is. I'm finally able to get from her that she has high blood pressure and her list of meds. Jake is sitting beside her compassionately speaking to her and giving her sips of water as she then explains that she's hit her head. He then helps me check her head for a wound. (Closed wound)

Once first aid gets there, I'm able to give report and we get blood pressure readings of 160 over 100 WITH medication. Ugh. Jake jumps in with expert gait training and moves her to a wheelchair. As an aside, I wasn't very impressed with their first aid employees. Take caution if you go and get injured.

When the EMT arrives, Jake is able to explain what has happened with side notes from me. The EMT asks him, "How did you know what to do?" Jake answers proudly, "Boy Scouts!"

I was very proud of him for not losing his cool but moreover, for the compassion he showed for the woman.

It was good to know that my medical training came back "Just like that."

Flying monkeys? None, really. I just think they're funny. :o)

Glow in the dark yarn??? YES! Bernat has glow in the dark yarn! This has to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen! My first thought was, "What in the world am I going to do with this after Halloween?" Then it dawned on me! Baby's favorite toy that's always getting lost? Now it's found. "Where's that other mitten?" Now you know! This is sheer brilliance! My only critique? "Worm White" should DEFINITELY be "Glow Worm White"

And... shiny object syndrome strikes again. I'm making Christmas ornaments while knitting another drive-thru sweater, and in the meantime, cross stitching an orchid picture for my mother for Christmas. I'm trying to get my hand-made Christmas gifts done before November 1st. Lots and lots to do!

As an aside, I seem to be still hat-alive. My assassin told me she mailed my hat two weeks ago but I've yet to see it (good!!!). HER assassin has contacted me. MY target has contacted me... it's all so very strange, elusive, and confusing. Lots of fun, however.

What's in your lap that's occupying your time?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Let there be peace on Earth...



... and let it begin with me.

Tonight, I'm making it begin with me. I had the misfortune of being sent a website about White Power (why I even capitalize that is beyond me.) The site focuses on homeschooling as a way to separate ones child from other races and religions and then goes on with the typical hate speech we thought ended in the 1960s in Selma, Alabama.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for Free Speech and the First Amendment but really, what company in their right (Reich?) mind would even want to associate with a website like that?

Well, I'll tell you what company, Dreamhost.

If FoodLion (a local grocery store chain) posted signs that they'd only sell to White people, I wouldn't shop there and you can be SURE I would tell my friends not to.

So, friends, I'm asking you to not use Dreamhost as a hosting site for your website. 

Most hosting companies have clear standards of sites they'll allow (and that includes NO tolerance for hate speech.)  For some reason, being a Nazi is okay with Dreamhost and attacking other religions or races is okay with them too.

They have a "no child pornography" rule on their website (showing that they will INDEED put limitations on free speech if it gets THEM in trouble) but they obviously have little regard for child safety if they allow a site on how to teach hate to children to remain.

Even the Supreme Court placed limits on the First Amendment, my friends.  So has our government under the Patriot Act. 

The First Amendment is precious but I think that Peace and the message of Love is even greater.

It's WJWD.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hat or Death?


This is the hat I made for the Hat Attack on Ravelry. Lots of fun. Lots of concentration broken with my little ones running around but I really like it.

I knit over 10,000 stitches in under two days. That's amazing even to me! I hope my "target" likes her "sweet taste of death". If nothing else, it will keep her from catching her "death" when it's cold. :o)

I got a message that my assassin has mailed hers. It's beautiful! Cream, pumpkin. She told me I'd die by pumpkin pie. :o)

This has been a lot of fun!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Let me check my list

Lots of new shiny objects - so many, in fact, that I've been away for a couple of weeks while I get "sichiated."

School started for us last week. That in itself was enough to drive me to drink. Usually, I theme teach. I pick a subject: Trees, for example, and each "grade level" will have their work to do.

3rd grade would maybe be to find out how to age a tree (counting rings); identify barks of some trees; what it means to be a "native" plant; list 5 native trees; leaf rubbings and identification of trees by leaves; search for items that come from trees; read/write tree poems; visit an arboretum; etc.

6/7th grade would do the above and label the layers of a forest, define an ecosystem and find 10 animals that use trees solely as their habitat; plant trees for an eco-project; research what it means to reclaim wood & write a report about it, etc.

10th grade would do all of the above and carve or make something from reclaimed wood; research local threats to trees; work on petitions or other political cause for trees; etc.

Easy peasy, right? I mean, honestly, you can see how simple this would be.

Apparently, even though it wasn't broken, I decided to fix it.

This year, we did Oak Meadow curricula for third and 7th grade. Jake's working on Biology, Chemistry, Business Writing, Business Math, Government (and volunteering during the election), Speech/Forensics/Apologetics.

This is in addition to: Boy Scouts (both boys), SCUBA lessons (Caleb), Equestrian Vaulting (Caleb and Katy), Girl Scouts (Katy), American Heritage Girls (Katy), 4-H (all of them), Select Soccer (Jake), Lazer Tag League (both boys), Ballet (Katy), and odd things here and there like auditions for music, modeling, etc.

Who called this HOME schooling?

With this much busyness came total melt down. No, not from my children.... from ME.

I don't mind the extra curriculars. It really does give me time to knit while I wait for practice or knit while I wait for scouts to end or sew or cross stitch or paint, whatever. :o)

I learned from some wise people on a homeschool list I'm on to delegate and that made the world MUCH easier.

What made it even MORE easy was to give THEM a list. I'm famous for my lists of things. For some reason, it never dawned on me to make THEM a list too. Voila! Worked like a charm.

This has left me some knitting room!!! Another sweater in the works! This is a pattern from Lion Brand with Wool-Ease yarn.
Connor has two pairs of brown pants and I thought when I got them, "What am I going to do with these?" Then I saw this sweater and... well, brown has never been my favorite (except in the form of brownies), I think this is cute.

Speaking of cute, I got this new book "Cute Stuff." I've already started on the bunny hair bands. They're adorable! I can see the pile of monkeys being on an overall for Connor too. So fun.


I finished a ballet sweater for Katy but the assembly was horrible so I have to undo it and resew it.

I'll post pictures of that when it's completed.

Next, I make a list of Christmas gifts to make.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

THINK before you speak

Abe Lincoln said, "Nothing is opened more by mistake than the mouth."

Thumper's father had another take on it, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." (yes, I know. The double negative is HIS not mine.)

With four children, spats and fights are bound to happen. We are a "no hitting" household so I'm sure you can imagine how it goes all over me for one to hit another.

While the physical torment of each other is minimal (thank God!), the mouth. Ah, the mouth.

Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.

It is true. Nothing is opened more by mistake than the mouth.

I learned early on that a quick wit and sharp tongue go together all too well. (A friend and I had our astrological charts done - Leo with Gemini rising. He told me that meant I was the world's most quick-witted smart-allec. I'm sure many of my friends agree - regardless of one's belief in astrology.) The real challenge was in thinking and not speaking.

This is the lesson I'm striving to teach my children.

In doing so, we created bracelets. In the faddish world of things on your wrist from "Live Strong" to "BELIEVE" (why does that remind me of George Carlin's skit, "Somewhere between 'Live free or die' and 'famous potatoes' is the meaning of life." ?) I was sure that this fashion statement would make a difference.

I'm a firm believer of The Complaint Free World movement but I needed something more. In all honesty, I needed to be able to point out to them what they were doing without having to move my own bracelet, thank you very much.

Hence, my "THINK" bracelets were born.

These aren't just to remind them to think before they speak (although that is the main purpose). Each of the letters actually stand for something. (Because if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.... or something like that. )

Rather, it's an acronym for what's really going on in your head.

Is what you're about to say:

T- thoughtful
H - helpful
I - intelligent
N- necessary
K - kind


With a house full of smart allecs, it didn't take long for them start being sarcastic. "Is it NECESSARY that I wear this?" chimes in one of them. Another picks up the ball, "Is it HELPFUL for this to hang on my wrist while I'm trying to do stuff?" Another can't be outdone, "Is it KIND to make me have to wear this?"


I am not amused. My stone face and raised eyebrow (think: Spok) silence them immediately. This is also known as the "Mommy Look". You know the one.

I answer, "Is it INTELLIGENT for you to tick me off?" I continue, "Is it NECESSARY for you to be such pains in the..." I'm sure you get the idea.

Keep in mind, I've created this because I'm sick (and tired) of hearing them
bicker. The last thing I wanted to do was give them a unified front against ME. Best laid plans.

But here is the bracelet:

Jake modeling his hemp T.H.I.N.K bracelet.

As you see, you'll need some alphabet letter beads, some hemp or embroidery floss, a bit of glue (waterproof glue works the best) and maybe some other colored beads if you want to go all out.

A good rule of measurement is to do 4 times the circumference of your wrist. Since only the outer strings are used for macrame, they will get shorter faster.

Really, it's just a matter of square knots, half knots, and bead placement. The sky is the limit with regard to your creativity. Put a dab of glue on the end knots to keep them secure. Keep in mind that hemp doesn't do well if it gets wet so you really should make this bracelet removable (as opposed to just tying it on your wrist.)

There you have it - a Mommy/Daddy audiovisual on how peace is SUPPOSED to happen in the home.

As The Complaint Free World website will tell you, it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Be consistent, be firm, and be consciously aware of how you speak to them and expect the same thing in return.

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
- Mark Twain


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Breathing isn't as easy as you think...


Many of us do it wrong. If you're reading this, you may argue since in order to read this you'd need to be alive and to be alive you need to breathe. That almost sounded Schrodinger, didn't it? Light and airy. Light and airy. That's the goal of this blog. I can discuss metaphysics with the best of them, forensic pathology is a specialty of mine, and I'm a shoe-in for most Quantum Physics discussion competitions... but this is not that blog.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. Light and airy.

So, speaking of light and airy, I'm in the process of an OCD purge. "What is that?" you ask? It's really complicated, actually. Not at all how "normal" people think, I'm sure. Most people have pictures in their mind of Monk with his 900 phobias. Truth be known, he's not really as OCD as he'd like to claim. The other end of OCD is the hoarding aspect. You know those people with like 80 cats? That's OCD too.

That's where I tend to lay - at the hoarding end of the spectrum. Not in an 80 cats kind of way. That's just creepy (and smelly! Do these people just not have any olfactory functions at ALL???) But I do like to have stuff... just not how you may picture it.

So combine this hoarding with Shiny Object Syndrome and Houston, we have a problem. Now, I don't consider it a problem. Well, let me explain. Walk with me as I talk.

You see, when I find a new craft to try, I like to have all the equipment that comes with it. Let me retype that. When I find a new craft to try, I like to have ALL the equipment that comes with it.

I knit. I have every knitting needle size (straight, circular, and double pointed) there is. My justification is, at 3am when I just HAVE to knit something, I'll be prepared. You can imagine what my yarn stash is like too. Odds are, I have one of each type of popular yarn in every fashion color.

I crochet. I have every hook too.

I paint (watercolors). Yep, you guessed it. Every brush and color of paint.

I also do "folk painting" (also known as tole painting or even One-Stroke). I have every acrylic and brush for that too.

Are you starting to get the idea?

Magazines are a particular problem with me. I am a magazine addict so I have to pick my magazine addiction wisely. Family Fun is a no-brainer. With children in Scouts and all of the children's activities I lead, it's a valued resource. Pack-O-Fun is another magazine like that.

Other magazines?

Knit Simple
Knit1
Interweave Knits
Simply Knitting
Vogue Knitting
Knitter's
Cast On
Sew Beautiful (that one just takes my breath away)
Living Crafts (OMG! I just love this magazine!)
Craft
Taste of Home

and a few others I can't place right now. I store them in a bin for future use and I do go back and use them.

Unfortunately, it doesn't stop at magazines. I have 6 sewing machines, 2 sergers, and an embroidery machine. (Have to have a back-up!) I have a knitting machine, weaving loom, quilting stand, and many knitting looms. I have spindles for spinning and hubby is making me a spinning wheel.

The bigger problem is, I have a 3 bedroom ranch and there are 6 of us. Space is VERY limited.

This brings us full circle to the purge part.

If you don't know about Freecycle.org, you should. I don't like to throw away things but I'm great about giving them away.

When the six month rule hits our house ("If you haven't touched it in 6 months, it's outta' here!"), it often hits hard. Patterns that my children have outgrown are often the first to go. I Freecyle them quite often. Clothing? Gone. Children? Oh, I have to keep those. Damned rules of civilized society! (kidding, obviously)

Books... those are harder. I love books. They are like little square people. (I made myself laugh on that one.) I *have* managed to get that one under control. Libraries don't work well for me because I'm so busy, I seldom get to one and when I do, I seldom get back to one so I rack up huge fines. The new library here is probably built on my fines alone. You're welcome.

The good news is, I hate shoes. I really do. I can't think of any use for those damned things aside from keeping my feet warm in the event it actually gets cold here. Foul things. I'm sure one of Dante's levels is nothing but shoes. You don't have to worry about closets of shoes at this house, that's for sure. I'm also of the same mind with purses. My mother and sister love them. They have dozens (and have the nerve to complain about my crafting supplies!). I have tote bags to carry my crafting stuff but I maybe have 3 purses and none of them I bought. They were all gifts. I assume from people feeling sorry for me that I didn't have a purse.

OH!!! But, I should clarify that I LOVE flip flops. If I have to wear shoes, they will be flip flops. My mother bought me these for my birthday (In addition to the second serger.)

Are those not the coolest things you've ever seen? My ribbon collection will love this new craft! See? Now I can get rid of my ribbon AND my beads and buttons! Good move, Mom!

All of this to say, that I've spent the last 16 hours (because OCD's are nothing if not diligent and relentless LOL) cleaning out the garage. Once cleaned, I was able to move book shelves down there and bins of crafting supplies - both of which were living in my dining room/school room. AND the garage is clean! I actually am ABLE to put things down there and they are organized in bins (the other end of the OCD spectrum so I "swing both ways" so to speak. Ahem.)

And you'll never guess what happened. I could BREATHE better! Hubby (being a staunch BuddaChrist) nodded to my Chi comment. A minimalist, he's thrilled to get things out of the house. I often remind him that crack houses are very minimalist - a mattress on the floor and a table, usually. He's not amused. Not everyone appreciates my comic genius, I've found. :oD

Back to the point - as silly as it sounds, I could actually breathe more deeply and think. The clutter was gone - well, almost gone. I still have to work on my bedroom. But, in the immortal words of the "Fly Lady", my sink is clean and I have no hot spots in the living room, dining room, or kitchen now.

I'm hoping to create even more this week. (Create art, I mean) Once I create, I can get rid of things. I use yarn to make a scarf to give away. See how easy that is? I'm putting together a pile of books now that we just aren't going to use for homeschooling. My choice is to Freecycle it, trade it in at our local homeschooling store, or find a friend in need. Truth is, it will be whichever is faster to get it out of my house.

Maybe one day I'll have the house I dream about.

If I can just figure out how to live in Ikea... There's lots of room there to breathe, I'm sure.