Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Very Stinky Christmas

Yesterday Baby Stinky Pants came to spend the afternoon with me while mommy had her hair did and daddy was golfing. She's 18 months now, and at a really cute and fun age. It's been awhile since I've posted any pictures of her, so I will let these speak for themselves.

Chillin' on the couch, laughing at The Cowboy.
(Note: please disregard all the dog hair on the couch and don't judge. Our husky, Aggie, sheds her coat twice a year and she's in full on shed mode right now. And yes, we let our dogs sit on the couch and lay in the bed. More like they let us sit on the couch and lay in the bed with them.)


Help! She's fallen and she can't get up.

Posing by the tree. (Her mom said they couldn't get a good picture of her for a Christmas card. They obviously didn't call me.)

She wouldn't let go of the Wii remote, in case you were wondering.

Looking like her daddy.

She's very curious about everything.

And now she has two Wii remotes.

Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season and that all your plans, preparations and parties are in full swing!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Crafts and Creeps

The goose is getting fat, my friends. Only 15 days left, but more importantly, only 6 more days of school until I'm off for 2 weeks!! My shopping was minimal and, therefor, easy this year. I'm pretty much finished with it. The interior of the house is decorated and the exterior is half done. Hopefully the other half will be completed this evening. All that's left to do is send out my cards, make cookies, and finish up a few knitting projects and holiday crafts I'm working on as gifts for friends and co-workers.

Which brings me to my post today. I have a really quick, easy, cheap and cute craft idea that just about anyone can do for Christmas gifts. Here's a picture of the sample(s) I made for myself.

You can use any letters you want, to spell out anything you like. Obviously. I chose Noel. But you can do Joy, or Peace. You could do names. You could do dirty words. Hey, it's your craft. Do what you want.

Materials you will need:

Wooden letters. I got these bad boys at Hobby Lobby. They came in packs of 2 (so I got 1 package which had 2 "n"s in it, etc.). The CD is there to give you a size reference. You can do bigger letters if you want. I wouldn't recommend smaller, because the cutting will get tricky. You'll see.
Cost of letters: 99 cents per package, so about $4 for all 4 letters, which will make 2 NOELs.

Scrapbook Paper. I used a different print for each letter, but you could do all 4 the same, or 2 and 2, or whatever you want. Again. I'm just showing you the method. You can mix it up as you like.
Cost of scrapbook paper: between 59 and 99 cents a page. So your price will vary depending on how much you buy and how many patterns you buy. For a big piece of paper, you can probably
get all 4 letters on it. But I bought 8 pieces of paper (I'm making 4 sets of these), and I spent about $5.

Mod Podge. Have you tried this stuff yet? I love it. It's like glue, but better. You can use it to save puzzles after you've put them together. You can make magnets and all sorts of other stuff with it that I'm sure I have no idea about, as this was my first experience using Mod Podge. But it won't be my last, nossir.
Cost of Mod Podge: $5 - $8, depending on where you buy it. It's a big bottle, and I only used a little for this project, though. So it will last you for awhile. Also, you can choose between matte and glossy Mod Podge. I went with glossy.

Tools. Scissors, an Exacto knife, and a sponge brush.
Cost of tools: You should have scissors, the exacto knife cost me $2.99 (if you don't already have one) and the brushes came in a set of 6 for $2. If you're a crafter, you probably already have most of this stuff laying around your house anyway.

For finishing, you will need a hot glue gun and some ribbon. I happened to have both of these things already, so I don't know how much they cost. You can pick up a thing of ribbon for like 50 cents, and if you don't have a hot glue gun, then I don't know how to talk to you.

The How-To

Trace the letters onto the backside of the scrapbook paper. Please don't make the same mistake I did and trace them the wrong way (I only did this on one letter thank you very much). You obviously want to be looking at the right side of the paper when all is said and done, so when you trace, make sure you turn the wooden letter over as well, so that it's backwards when you're tracing it.

Additionally, every time I've tried to type "wooden" in this post, I've typed "wodden" instead. Wodden is not a word. But maybe it should be.

Cut the letter out, but leave a little room around the tracing. You will go back and trim this in a minute with the exacto.

Place the paper on the letter and make sure it fits so that you can't see any wood.

Now comes the Mod Podge!!!

Using the sponge, dab a light layer of MP onto the wooden letter. Place paper on top, and smooth with your hand, making sure there are no air bumps. It doesn't have to be aligned perfectly with the trace lines on the backside, but if you're anal like me, you can turn it over and make sure it is right.

Using the exacto knife, trim the excess paper from the sides. I find this works best if you have the letter scrapbook paper side down, and resting on a bed of newspaper. It does NOT work best just on a wooden table. Your exacto knife will not hesitate to slice right through that table. A little heads up, from me to you. It also helps to let the MP dry a bit first, but if you've used too much and it's slopped over the sides, then you might have clumps of MP to slice through also. Just do your thang.

Once all your letters are trimmed, apply another layer of MP to the top of your letters
(scrapbook paper side). Don't freak out that it comes out white. It will dry clear. It's magical. But don't use too much either. Just a nice glossy coat. Allow your letters to dry for about an hour or so before finishing.

I didn't get any pictures of the finishing process, but you will want to cut 1 piece of ribbon per letter. Make them all about the same length initially, and you can go back and trim them after you've glued them. Using your hot glue gun, glue the 2 ends of the ribbon on the back of the letters. Make sure you test each letter and ribbon length to make sure they're going to hang about the same length.

That's it! Total cost of project was around $15, and I am going to get 4 NOELs out of it, so 3 gifts! You're done and you have a simple, homemade Christmas gift for anyone on your list.

Also makes a good gift for people named Leon.

Speaking of creepers named Leon, I bet a few of these guys are named Leon. This is my new favorite website. Please take a moment and check it out. 'Tis the season, and I promise you will laugh. And if you don't laugh, then I don't know how to talk to you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Something Old, Something New

No, I'm not getting married. Sorry mom.

Tomorrow here in Central Texas we are supposed to be getting some "winter weather". Oh boy. The high temps are going to be in the mid 30s, and it's supposed to precipitate, so the forecasters are calling for the-possibility-of-a-chance-of-we-could-see-some-snow-flurries-with-some-light accumulation-on-the-grassy-areas-perhaps-between-2-to-3-inches.

You would think WWIII was about to roll through town, the way people are freaking out. I went to the grocery store after work today to pick up some batteries and everyone and their brother was there. I ran into no fewer than 7 kids from my school, and the lines were outrageous. I find it highly amusing, and yet very annoying (especially in the store situations) that the people down here hear the word "snow" and they think they better stock up because "who knows when we'll be able to get out to the store again". Oh for crying out loud. It's snow, people! It's supposed to melt by Saturday morning, and it won't even make the roads slick. Geesh.

Also, the school was all a-buzz today with talk of cancellations and snow days and inclement weather and buses and what would we do if? like questions. Bunch of ninnies. I'm not saying it's not been chilly down here - for Texas this weather is unusual, especially this time of year, and it
hasn't taken long for my blood to thin out and for me to become acclimated to the weather. However, snow isn't anything to freak out about. Do you hear me people of Central Texas? I declare,

Moving on...

That wasn't what I wanted to blog about today. I realized that I haven't posted since my trip up to Michigan for Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd better remedy that. I'm not going to post a bunch of boring pictures of my family and I on Thanksgiving (that doesn't mean I didn't take a bunch, just that I'm not going to post them you see) or bore you to death with the details of my trip. I'll just say that it was fabulous and everything I'd hoped it would be. The food was great, I got to see some friends and hang out with my cousins and aunts and mom. In fact, my mom and I went yarn shopping and I picked up some new sock yarn and some Noro. But those are boring details that I promised to spare you.

Christmas came a little early for me this year while I was up north. My grandmother gave me a wonderful gift!

My Gram and I on Thanksgiving (Ok, so I posted one boring picture of me and my family)

Here's the back story. When I was a little girl, I loved my Grandmother's house at Christmas time. It was filled with familiar faces, food, smells and decorations. My favorite decoration of all was this ceramic music box that I believe on of my aunts had painted and given to my Gram. It
depicted Santa snoozing in his chair, near the fire, and had a Christmas tree with 2 elves on either side that rotated around, which was how you wound up the music box. It played The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire....), and it amused me for hours. I would wind those elves up and happily watch it turn. I don't know why I loved it so, but I always have.
My Grandmother gave it to me this year.

It's probably my favorite Christmas decoration that I have now. And I have a lot. It looks like Christmas threw up in our house. But I love it that way.

The Cowboy and I are scaling back our Christmas gifts to each other this year, for various reasons. One of the things I had asked for, before we decided to keep it simple, was brand new bedding. The whole shebang. Bed skirt, comforter, pillows, sheets, etc. Our dogs, I love them, but they tear shit up. And to be fair, I'd had my old quilt on the bed for a few years now, and it was time for something nicer and newer. Grown up bedding. Well, The Cowboy surprised me yesterday with an early Christmas present!

This isn't the best picture, and it's still a little wrinkly from being in the package, but here's our new bedding! We set it all up, I took a quick picture, and then we had to cover it all up with the "dog blanket", which is our old quilt, which we are keeping on top of the new stuff, so the dogs don't tear it up. I wish we could see the bedding all the time, but it makes me happy just knowing it's there, and I love sleeping in new sheets.

Well, I'm off to watch the weather report and laugh at some fools. I hope it does snow, though. That would be pretty neat to see. But I'm not gonna lose my cool over it or anything.