Happy Holidays from NWC

I made this sign out of leftover cardboard from toy packaging and Dollar Tree tinsel. I like hanging stuff with clothespins on our blinds. It changes the feel of the room easily and quickly. Most of the clothespins are decorated with ribbon using nothing more than a hot glue gun.

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Our church is putting together a parish directory and we got a free 8×10 just for getting our picture taken.

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We been baking a lot also. I only make my special chocolate chip cookies once a year for a reason, the reason being I would seriously eat them all.

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They are that good. I don’t tell ANYONE in my family how I make my cookies but I’ll tell you. You can find the link here and instead of two teaspoons of vanilla, you should add two tablespoons. Enjoy and come back and tell me that those cookies you just baked were the best ever!

The Crafty Capacitance

This has been quite a busy weekend. Rain storms kept me from driving to my race last Saturday and honestly driving in the rain would have been far worse than running in it! I felt quite gulty about missing the race but talked it over with my husband who always manages to say what I need to hear.

This weekend was my first craft fair. I had no idea what to expect. I baked three pans of brownies to sell for Saturday, three more for Sunday, and sold out of them by the end of the craft fair. I sold three kinds of brownies: chocolate caramel, mint (made with real Andes creme de menthe candies), and toffee. I don’t have a picture because they ran out too fast. Also, if I took the time to take a picture of some, they might have ended up in my belly.

I prepared these items to sell, priced $2-$10.

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These wreaths took over sixty hours to make, priced $25-30 each.

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I ended up donating one to the craft fair raffle. One of the volunteers was an elderly lady who was so kind to me. I guess you’d have to be to the FOUR-TIME WINNER of the raffle! Anyway, I ended up giving her one on her way out. I sent a friend’s daughter (who was selling her own treats as well) to bring it to her on her way to her car. I was told she was ecstatic. Sixty hours, schmixty hours.

BTW, t’s true! I won four times! I bought six raffle tickets for five dollars and won four times. I’ll have to take a picture of my winnings for a later post because I hear the kids stirring. Almost time for breakfast.

I also painted these wreaths red and glitterfied them. (If “glitterfied” is not a word, then it should be.) One of them sold.

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I only sold a few items and the craft fair ended up costing me more than I actually made. I forgot to figure in the cost of lunch (and um, actually packing snacks and meals), not to mention all of the awesome crafts and treats out there. I bought a large loaf of pumpkin bread for ten bucks. Yes, pretty expensive but it was delicious and I was hoping that it would feed us for a few days.

Wrong.

It fed my kids for a few hours! My mom said that it disappeared fast.

I’m glad I got a slice when I did!

I’m thinking about doing another craft fair at an elementary school and repricing some of the items to sell.

But in the meantime, three kids’ bellies are growling and I am twenty thousand words behind for NaNoWriMo! Think I can catch up? I’ve done it before. Cross your fingers and send me a cyber kick to finish please!

The Eponine Complex

I was not very productive this weekend. The weather has officially moved to sweater status, sometimes even boots and jacket days. I don’t know what it is but cold weather and rain make me very sleepy.

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We put up our Christmas tree but haven’t decorated it yet. I wanted it up before my Lia Sophia jewelry party on Wednesday.

This weekend will be my first craft fair at our church. I will be occupying a small corner of a friend’s booth and I’ll be selling Pinterest-inspired stuff from last year as well as homemade brownies with my son. Some of our proceeds will go back to the church and I hope this can be something our entire family does every year. I don’t know about other crafters but I don’t paint and glue gun and spray for the money though making enough to cover materials is ideal. It’s just a lot of fun, especially when the kids want to do their own project on the side.

Before the craft fair on Saturday I am running a 10K.

I haven’t been running since the last 10K. Um, last month.

I am not nervous about it. I think I will run at a slow pace and try to run the entire six-ish miles without stopping but…

I won’t beat myself up if I have to walk. I just want to finish.

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Sometimes I freak out about what I’ve got scheduled but then I go back to work and somehow everything all gets worked out.

For the last few months, I’ve been thinking about how much I love the performing arts and would love to start bringing our kids to different shows. Did I ever tell you that I once auditioned for Les Miz?

Yep, I did.

Once.

That’s all it took. It only took one shot to let me know that while I may be able to carry a tune, I am no match for a Broadway audition. It only took one shot to realize that I have no future on Broadway. It only took one shot to realize that I would never sing in a theater.

Today I’m subbing for theater. Today I did this.

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I sang. And I was loud. And probably okay.

But I don’t care. I sang in a theater.

Craft Vomit: Secret Hideout & Fascinator Experiments

I admit that I have a problem. I am addicted to Pinterest. I make stuff and I show everyone I know. Not only that, I highly recommend the damn website to strangers.

It’s embarassing.

But not really because for the first time, I feel like the house is cozier and without spending a lot of money we don’t have. My hands are too busy making stupid crepe paper roses for me to snack after the kids go to bed. The kids look forward to what I make out of recyclables and sometimes even partake in all of the craftiness.

For weeks my middle daughter A has been asking me when I was going to make a house out of the huge cardboard box in the garage. I put it off for a long time for every reason in the book. The playroom wasn’t clean enough to bring in yet another “thing”. I was too tired. I didn’t want to use boxcutters around the kids.

Yesterday while the older two were in school I lugged that ginormous box upstairs and just as I got to THE TOP STEP of the stairs I lost my grip and the entire thing slid down the stairway and collapsed in the kitchen. Thank goodness my youngest daughter L and the dogs were in the living room, probably scared off by my swearing and shrieks.

After I finally got the damn thing up the stairs, I didn’t measure anything except to make sure that the skinny mattress cardboard box expanded to make a large rectangle and not some random quadrilateral. I planned on cutting the top to make a pointed roof but made a skylight instead. Nothing fancy, just duct taped the top together to make L-shapes to make it sturdier. I cut out two heart windows on two sides that are too high for them to look through but perfect for Mommy to peek in whenever they are being “too quiet”. I made a door wide enough for me to pass through (because of course I’m going to get so chocolate wasted in there after the kids go to bed) and windows on two of the sides. The fourth side I left alone. Then I reinforced everywhere I cut with duct tape that we had from other projects.

The reaction from each child was so worth it. The older two came home from school having stayed indoors all day because of the rain. They were ecstatic. I let them play in it for an hour before starting their homework.

One reaction that was not surprising happened on Sunday when my daughters sported their new headbands complete with fake birds in a nest of tulle designed by yours truly. Occasionally we go to our neighborhood donut shop before church and the owner was happy to see the girls again after a much needed hiatus of those sugary confectons.

“I like your headband,” the owner said. “How did you make it?” she asked my middle daughter A.

A leaned forward and pointed to the headband. She said, “Well, first my mom killed a bird…”

Accessories from the Dollar Tree? One dollar (duh).

Ribbon? $2.

Tulle? $3.

Not feeling embarassed over what your daughter says to strangers because YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHERE HER SENSE OF HUMOR COMES FROM? Priceless.

Craft Vomit: Goofy pinecone animals for Halloween

I made several dozen of these guys for our school Fall Festival last year. They were such a hit that they were ALL GONE even before the event ended. No biggie because they were easy to make.

Pinecones, rocks, and acorns courtesy of the trees just outside our neighborhood Starbucks.

Tissue, glue gun, construction paper, scissors, googly eyes. Easy peasy.

Craft Vomit: The truth about rosettes

So I saw on Pinterest this gorgeous wreath made from pages of a book. Naturally I was horrified to know that a book was destroyed but at the same time it is a wonderful homage to literature in albeit peculiar way.

A few nights ago I was ready to make the wreath. Had a Gossip Girl novel that I found at the Dollar Tree in hand, ready to be sacrificed. I made rosettes for what seemed like hours.

By the end of the evening, I had seventeen rosettes.

Yes, seventeen.

No one quantifies these beautiful crafts. Of course not. You do not want to know that seventeen rosettes, made seventeen different ways, made half of one circle on my twelve inch wreath.

No, not half of one wreath. HALF OF ONE ROW. A full size wreath has, and I am eyeballing it here, about nine rows give or take rows depending on how big you make your rosettes.

Alas, I did NOT make (um, 17 x 2 x 9…) 306 rosettes. I cheated. And I love it.

I love cheating, especially if no one can tell (I am talking about wreaths, people). I love that I make tons of mistakes when I do crafts and I either move on or fix it.

I had five rows of rosettes before I finally said, “Forget it!” I cut book pages into strips and covered the rest of the wreath with said strips. (I’m giggling right now.)

So yes, wreaths are beautiful. But may I make some suggestions before you venture on this craft?

Suggestions from a disgruntled wreath maker
1. Always camo your wreath before you begin. If you are sticking beautiful red roses on your wreath, wrap the damn thing in red ribbon first before you drive yourself mad with the original color of the wreath peeking through no matter how many damn roses you glue on there.

2. You should always practice what you are going to make before you make anything permanent. If you have seven jumbo rosettes and the rest are way smaller, for goodness sakes, use the jumbo ones. Group them together or space them out.

3. Accept the fact that unless you have hours upon hours in one day to spend on a rosette wreath, you WILL NOT finish quickly. If you do, then your name must be Martha Stewart or you are just THAT good. In any case, Ms. Stewart or Ms./Mr. Awesome Crafter, please subscribe to my blog and share with your famous friends.

4. Do what works for you. I worked on the wreath in phases over the past few days for two very important reasons: (a) I wanted to see progress because I was GETTING SO TIRED and (b) I didn’t know I would have to make a thousand of those damn rosettes. By the end of six rows on the wreath, I was done and um… modified the wreath a bit.

Good luck to you and I can’t wait to see yours! The rosette tutorial can be found here.

This week’s Craft Vomit

2 Dollar Tree foam boards glued together. Covered with IKEA fabric on clearance ($3/yard). Glued clothespins and string to the back so I could easily move it left to right without getting to technical with measurements.

Large two buck frame from Goodwill. Prime & spray paint. Took off back. Wrote directly on the glass with a paint marker. The top two lines are our birthdays, then our anniversary, followed by the kids' birthdays.

Don’t ask me why I decided to tag all of my crafty posts with “Craft Vomit”. It was Christmas and I was looking at all of the stuff I was making and I thought, “Gosh, it looks like Michael’s threw up in our house.”

It works. I’ll keep it.

Dollar Tree Owl painted with nail polish, DT headband covered in ribbon, tulle, and a feather boa I bought from Express from... wait for it... the 90s! I will wear this to church on Sunday if it doesn't rain. This owl is NOT waterfproof.


Dollar frame from Goodwill. Cleaned up chips with black Sharpie. Added hooks, painted hooks & keys in frame with nail polish.

In the meantime, I have been a little frantic with the craftiness. I love the creativity on Pinterest and think, “Wow! I want to do that too!”

Pack of 6 door hangers from Wal-Mart. Color coded for each kid. Paint chips for chores. Separate door hanger for morning and afternoon routines. Keep track of list with clothespin. Nag-free mornings all week!

But my mind takes it a step futher. Several dozen times.

Sometimes I start a craft and I think I'll be done quickly. Crepe paper roses are fast to make but take SO FREAKING long to accumulate. Actually paper rose anything takes too long. The end result is quite pretty though. I will never buy a foam ball ever again. I will use rolled up plastic bags and cover with strips of magazines.