Saturday, December 31, 2011

The annual epistle of exaggeration and outright falsehoods - 2012 - A top Ten

I've been meaning to post this all week, but life has just gotten in the way. Christmas was fantastic. We had a great time.

And if we ever get our cards out this year they're going to look like this:

And instead of the annual letter, you'd see this:


10. Thing One got to quit her awful job where they treated her like a deranged hobo, and got a really fantastic job making more money doing what she completely loves to do. She got to go to New York and sing at the Lincoln Center (sorry, Carnegie was closed) with her wonderful choir. She also got a sweet Boyfriend who makes her smile a lot, and she ran away to Mexico to have Christmas with his family because she doesn't love us.

9. Thing Two moved out and then moved back in again. He has learned to appreciate the simple things in life, like not running out of toilet paper because everyone thinks it is someone else's turn to buy it, or eating food that might actually have nutrients and vitamins in it. He has an adorable, lovely, beautiful girlfriend who we don't get to see nearly enough, I think that maybe he is worried that we will somehow reveal to her that he is a dork and she deserves better. We are hoping to have the boy out the door on his mission VERY SOON. Right, boy?

8. Screamapillar continues to kick people in the shins with her cleats and sing in the choir. She likes boys and boys like her. She continues also to be awkward around the boys, which makes for much hilarity. She got to go to Phoenix to visit her grandma, and to Las Vegas on choir tour even though we tried to stop her. She also continues to set world records in texting.

7. Luke Skywalker is still attending Provo High as an 8th grader, solely to annoy his bigger sister. He has finally decided to grow, and is getting taller faster than I can let the hems out of his pants. He has started to raid his older brother's wardrobe in his search for sleeves that are long enough. He has decided to be a scientist someday, in hopes of blowing things up like the Mythbusters.

6. Eclair has taken her chatterbox skills to a new level, taking every opportunity to talk the ears off strangers and friends alike. If you're her facebook friend, beware of chat. If you have a cell phone, make sure I don't have your number or she will text you incessantly. Funny thing though, EVERYONE loves her anyway.

5. Hubby has broken out of his shell and started coming out of his hobbit-hole office into the sunlight to make a few trips. He supervised Screamapillar's trip to Phoenix, and made a solo trip to Baja California where he did not die of anything as expected, including dinosaurs. His shoes were the only casualty of the trip, suprisingly enough. He has a few more trips planned, and as long as he keeps remembering to bring me presents all will be well.

4. I have spent the year sitting around playing Farmville, while simultaneously editing photos. I got to do a lot of fun photos for mostly attractive people (you ugly ones know who you are). Thing One got me the newest version of Photoshop for Christmas, so now this old dog has to learn new tricks.

3. The animals continue well. Misty (our giant yellow lab) got a new dog door, and likes to go in and out and in and out and in and out just to show you that she can. It has helped with her arthritis tons. Muffin and Gus still hate one another. While Muffin has retained her girlish figure, Gus is striving to outweigh Misty, and is juuuuusst about there.

2. We went to California for El Guapo and Felicity's wedding. It was so completely awesome that I am going to make one of my grils get married in 2012 just so I can throw an awesome wedding reception myself (I think Eclair already has a few prospects rounded up - they would just have to have their mother's permission to propose).

1. We made too many trips to the ER, went to too many funerals, drove too many miles, and ate too much food, and were blessed far more than we deserve. We didn't spend enough time cleaning the house, visiting family, and having a good time (because you can never have too much of those).

Hope 2011 was good to you, and that 2012 is even more awesome.

Friday, December 23, 2011

wee little houses

YEA CAMI! She correctly named the style of house in our photo:

These little houses are from a project I did for my parents for Christmas a few years ago. I made about half of the many homes they have lived in since they were married. The little silver one is a quanset hut was their first home, on a military base in California when my dad was in the Navy.

The project was pretty time intensive, I made all the houses from empty cereal box cardboard. Except for the little one there, that's a paper tube instead. They're really just a series of boxes glued together with  peaky little roofs added.

 The really fun part was trying to work past the picture of the house from my memory as a child to what it actually looked like in real life (Google Earth helped a bit, for the houses that are still there today). The houses above are from Camarillo, Poway, and two from San Diego. The large one below is my grandmother's house, where we lived briefly between orders, the other one and half that are visible are from Albuquerque.

Mom puts them out under the Christmas tree every year, and I need to work on finishing them up. I think there are still another twelve to go before I'm done....

I recently came upon a site that has some great patterns for making your own houses. I'd give you mine, but they were completly custom and since I kept wingin' it, my patterns aren't much good to anyone beyond myself.

Looking back at these houses, I really think they need some more "bling." Perhaps it's time for a remodel.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Choirs

Christmas is performing arts season around here. With all the saxamaphone, clarinet, flute, violin, piano and sopranos around here we don't really have a choice.

In the last two weeks we have had two performances, choir in nature, that hit the polar opposites of performances: Thing One performing with Mapleton Chorale at Temple Square, and Eclair and the elementary school fine arts choir.

Mapleton Chorale:

Awesome Choir. You must audition and make the "cut" before you can sing. Sang in Alice Tully Hall in NYC last June. Previous director is now Assistant Director to the MoTab. Like I said, AWESOME CHOIR.

Eclair is in Show Choir. They are all 5th and 6th Graders. The ones who didn't choose Ballroom Dance (perhaps they have two left feet?), or Orchestra (perhaps they don't play an instrument?), Guitar (perhaps they don't want to be rock stars?) or Drama (the don't die well onstage as is required when they only do Romeo & Juliet every year...).

No auditions or singing ability required for this little group. They love everybody. I must say, that I was expecting a painful performance (because there are a bunch of 6th grade boys with squeaky voices, you know).  I was VERY pleasantly surprised by what a great job they did. Their acapella numbers were great. Really great. That choir teacher must really know her stuff, becuase this was better than the freshman choir at the high school. I didn't expect such great harmonizing.

So as a performance, it doesn't fall short at all.

Where the big difference is, is here:

Thing One there, on the top. Matching uniforms. Clean faces. Smiling faces, spectacular voices.

Back to Eclair's choir:

Uniforms not so uniform. But that's okay, their faces are clean. BUT - I'm missing the smiling faces - instead we have that kid on the left who looks like someone just shot his dog. I laughed out loud when I downloaded this from the camera.
As we continue along this breakneck race towards Christmas, I am doing and making much. But it's hard to post things because the people I'm making things for READ this blog, and I want their gifts to be a surprise! So I'm going to do two more awesome posts real soon, on stuff that I did last year and before, including these wonderful houses.

Bonus points to anyone who comments and knows what that roundish silver thing in the photo below is:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Early Morning

Something lovely happened today:

Close, so close, just before the full eclipse.

I was merciful. I didn't get Luke Skywalker up until 6:30 (I waited a whole thirty minutes). He was able to see the lunar eclipse about halfway accomplished. I was hoping that he might be able to get some extra credit in his science class for making the effort to get up and see it. He said, "take a picture for me and get me up again in a half hour."

Then I got in the car and tried to escape the light pollution in order to capture the above image for you.

At seven am, I dashed back to the house to gather the children so they might see the full eclipse with me. They were awesome. They were in the car, barefoot and wrapped in blankets before I even finished the words "we'll go to Krispy Kreme after."

As we drove again to the "sweet spot," we passed many others: a pajama clad man sitting in a lawn chair in front of his house. A lady bundled up in many scarves sitting in her car taking photographs. Some joggers who had paused to have a look. A man beside his still-running truck, taking a photo with his iphone. A cyclist standing next to his bike taking it all in.

And I realized that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who will get up early, so early, in order to witness the amazing wonders of this world....

...and those who, when presented with the opportunity to get up at six am on a Saturday when it is precisely 18 degrees outside, say to me:


(we missed you, Hubby and Thing One. And we didn't save you any donuts, either)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mad dash: four

One more ornament today. This is another favorite, one my mother taught me when I was twelve years old. A LITTLE COWBOY HAT for your TREE!!!


Styrofoam cups
Ribbon scraps
An operational oven that will reach 275 degrees.

Preheat your oven, and use an UNGREASED cookie sheet for this craft. PLEASE, although it may seem tedious, you will want to make only ONE AT A TIME in order for these not to come out looking like this:

Again, I suppose if mutation is your thing, do five at a time and knock yourself out.

Here's what's going to happen to your cup when you put it in the oven (please excuse the poor quality, it's a little difficult to shoot through the window on my oven).

As you can see, the cup shrinks and flattens. As soon as it starts to look like that bottom image, you will need to quickly yank it out of the oven and do this:

Bend up the sides for the brim. They will cool very quickly, and then are ready for trimming.

Add a ribbon around the brim, and punch a hole in the crown with a pin and run a knotted string through for hanging on the tree.

Yee haw! These also make WONDERFUL Barbie hats, btw....

linking to a whole lotta places including:

Mad dash: three

More ornaments. This is a re-run from last year, but one of my FAVORITES so we're just reviewing for your enjoyment.

More bulbs. This is REALLLY  a simple craft, and it is outlined in this post.

Go check it out!

Mad dash: two

Ready to try another ornament? Also inspired by Pinterest?


How about something WONDERFUL and SHINY and HARRY-POTTER-ISH?

Like a golden snitch.


Ornament ball
Wing shaped pattern cut out of the envelope that Thing One's passport arrived in last week
Sparkly fun foam in GOLD (99 cents at Hobby Lobby!)
Warm melt glue gun*

*warm melt, because last time I used a hot melt gun there was lots of swearing and excessive use of aloe vera ointment.

Otay - trace around your pattern and cut out two wings from the foam. Unless you have some kind of mutation in mind for your snitch, then cut as many wings as you like, I suppose.

Glue wings at the top of the bulb near the hanger.


So, Snitch!!! or maybe batman on his way to a fancy dress ball? No, snitch.


mad dash, one

I am trying madly to catch up with all the WONDERFUL Christmas stuff we've been doing here on the blog. Funny how it's now 2:16 am on Wednesday, December 7, a day that shall live in infamy for a NEW reason now!

How many blog posts can a blogger post in a day? LET'S FIND OUT!

Post One: Ornament Thing One Found on Pinterest (which I scoffed, "I can MAKE that!" and then promptly did.


Ball ornament
Two beads that will fit over the end of the toothpicks
a small amount of coordination and patience

Here's where it gets REALLY COMPLEX:

Put the beads on the ends of the toothpicks. You should probably wear some protective glasses so you don't take your eye out.

Then put some glue on the ball and wrap the yarn neatly around it
(it's just that I have trouble doing anything neatly)

After you wind it all neatly around the ball, go to town with some semi-random winding, glue down your yarn's tail, and hopefully you'll have this:

WOO HOO!!! Lovely knitting ball for my mommy who likes to knit and crochet.

Phew. So glad that's over, it was a LOT of work!

Monday, December 5, 2011

gone missing

No. I'm not dead. Yet.

Actually, I'm feeling better! I had all kinds of wonderful Chistmas post ideas in my head, and then I got sick. Sicker than I have been in longer than I can remember. I was trying to be "mom of steel" and tough it out, and then my friends made me go to the doctor. B predicted I had a sinus infection. She wins the Sicko Lottery. I also have bronchitis. Today I feel better than I have in a long time, but still not quite up to par.

All I have for you today is this photo:

which I will entitle "Anguish"

and this photo:

 which I will entitle "Madwoman."

I will be working frantically to prepare another post for later today, Thing One and I have some "cheap and easy" Christmas ornaments and crafts for your enjoyment.

Thanks for tuning in.