These are my ruminations on life, design, and the pursuit of happiness…

Nightmare After Christmas

Last night the kids found my trunk full of 1993 Nightmare Before Christmas collectibles.

Now Sadie’s shelves look like this:

Joy to the world!

So many possible titles with this post:
Stockings hung with care! or How lovely are thy branches!
But really, all this Christmas decor just brings me loads of joy, and I can’t wait to share some of it with you.

First something I’m really quite proud of – the stockings!

These were made over the course of several years. Each is made with a different colored velvet for the background, and felt and beads and sequins all over.

I made Sadie’s beginning the year she was born, and finishing up the second year. Her design was the easiest, and I just came up with it off the top of my head. Then Theo was next, the images in his design I modified from pictures I saw on some wrapping paper. His took the next couple of years to complete.

Daves was started, but put on hold when we began our remodel
(and yes, it will be a New Years resolution to finish up that story I started way back when.)
So the year after we finished the house, I was determined to finish his, and I think mine too, which about killed me. (I finished at 4:00am on December 25th, having been up all night. I can be frighteningly determined when I set my mind to something.)

Daves stocking seemed like it should have Santa on it. The polar bears were an idea from yet more wrapping paper. My stocking idea is mice stitching up Christmas stockings. (That would be me you see, the creature stirring, bound and determined to have her stocking finished for Christmas morning).

So, there you have my lovely stockings, sewn with no pattern, but lots of love. Awww

Now for the joy that is my Christmas tree!

Swoony isn’t it?

I have a rule for the ornaments that go on the tree. They all have to be glass. The more precious go towards the top, to minimise the possibility of loss. (Isn’t that a nice way to put it? I couldn’t bring myself to type that B word.)

So here is some lovely close ups for you, because I just know someone out there is dying for a closer look.

The photo on the right shows Radko’s astropup, and is signed by the man himself. (My husband Dave used to work with a guy who was dating the mother of Christopher Radko’s god children. How is that for a convoluted connection? Anyhow, Dave got to meet him. He was apparently not interested in being our godfather.) On his right and left are two from Slavic Treasures. Blue horse is vintage.

The photo on the right has two vintage finds on the bottom. The frog is Slavic Treasures, and the Cootie I believe is a knock off of the S.T. Cootie line.

Here we have on the left a stupendous Slavic Treasures elephant, and bug. The fairy I bought at ABC Home in NYC. I love her glass wand!

On the right are two vintage cuties.

Here are two more examples of vintage goodness on the left.

This guy on the right we fondly refer to as “Tumor Head Clown”. He appears with yet another from Slavic Treasures, this time a cootie bug. they are waltzing below a vintage santa moon.

That is all the shots worth showing of the tree. Now I will leave you with the weeks craft project. The kids and I were so inspired by our birds we bought from In My Blue Room, that we thought we’d make some ourselves.

I made the one on the left, Sadie made the one in the middle, and Theo made the guy on the right. This was a three day project for us, and let me tell you, at the price I paid for the one I bought from I.M.B.R. it was a steal! They take a ton of work, but the kids were happy, I’m happy, and the birds…?

Super happy!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Unemployment Benefits

So those of you who know me and mine know that my husband has been out of work since May. This being Thanksgiving week, I thought I would put a positive spin on a bad situation, and share with you what good has come out of this forced “time off”.

Project 1: Olie Olds

We are a bit of a car family. (That’s a bit of an understatement) My husbands recent car “favorite” is his 1956 Oldsmobile 88 convertible. We found it in Michigan through Hemmings Motor News and had it shipped here to California. It had a few dents, and some bubbling of the paint from rust in spots, but wasn’t half bad.

It originally was an all black color scheme, but somewhere along the way had been painted black and white. The interior also had been poorly and incorrectly redone, but it drove, it was cool, and we had fun in it for several years, always knowing Dave would eventually get around to it’s restoration. We had accumulated most of the necessary tools while he was still employed, he had the talent, and then suddenly had the time!

First he did all the body work, rust repair, and replaced the doors. Sanded. Sanded. Sanded.

Then primer, (more sanding) and paint, all of which he accomplished in the driveway. (Told you he has talent!)

Then it was off to the upholstery shop for new carpet, interior, and top.

Thanks to a tip from a friend we found a great shop to do the work, at a fraction of what some other shops were asking.

So now “Olie Olds” is looking beautiful, but sadly I didn’t even get a good finish shot of him before he was garaged for the winter so Dave could move on to…

Project 2: My Dream Car

So being that he is “car inclined” Dave has subscribed to Collectible Automobile magazine on and off over the years. Way back in August of 1993, (I know this because the issue is for sale on ebay right now) they did a feature on the Austin Atlantic. I saw it. I was smitten.

The Austin A90 Atlantic was a British car produced by the Austin Motor Company, and was designed specifically for the American market. Unfortunately it didn’t take hold in the states, and only about 350 of the 7981 produced were sold here between 1959 and 1952. (350! Thats it!)

Well, I never really thought I’d have one, or even see one for sale. In about 2002, we did see one for sale, and fairly close too, within driving distance anyway, but at that time we were just getting ready to start our house remodel. We tend to be wildly impractical at times, but even we thought it would be a bad idea to spend the money on a car when we had a house waiting for a second story.
(And yes, this is reminding me I need to get back to blogging about our house remodel someday.)
Dave wouldn’t even take me to go see it, because “If we see it we won’t be able NOT to buy it.”

Forward to about October of 2007, when another A90 surfaced on ebay. By then the house was more or less done, and a new project seemed like a fine idea.

We had her shipped from her former home in Fargo, North Dakota, and by November she was here!

In this photo you can see the beautiful lines of the car that I fell in love with. And notice the cool flying A’s on the fenders!

Speaking of fenders, they had to be removed to get at all the rust the car was unfortunately full of.

Rust was ground back, and in some cases cut away completely. Dave made patches, sometimes making cardboard templates first to insure proper fit.

Somehow he found a neighbor who had been itching to buy a welder, and didn’t mind if we used it first.

(Don’t you love neighbors like that?)

So this is where the project stands currently. Dave is still out back everyday keeping his sanity by throwing energy at the car, looking for jobs when the sun goes down.
And I’m still finding plenty to be thankful for!