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

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!

He knows if you’ve been bad or good…

So I don’t know about the rest of you with kids, but sometimes this season can bring out the worst in mine. Perhaps it’s the excitement, perhaps they are just really hopped up on candy canes. Anyway, this weeks “naughty” came in the form of Theo spitting gum into his sisters hair. I heard the commotion as something like this:

S: Sniffle, sniffle, I’m telling mommy!
T: Just let me get it!
S: No! I’m going to mommy!

At which time I walked into the hall to see Sadie with gum in her hair, being chased by Theo, who was HOLDING SCISSORS!

As part of his punishment he had to write 5 reasons it is not a good idea to put gum in someone’s hair. In the true spirit of the season, I am now sharing that excellent piece of writing with you.

I just love this, I hope you do too. And if you are wondering, gum comes out of hair with a little peanut butter.

The season for multi-tasking

The mad dash from Thanksgiving to Christmas is always a crazy one isn’t it? I haven’t blogged in a while, so this is a bit of a catch up post. We have the holiday season parties, shopping, and cooking, as well as wrapping up the end of the semester at my work, and usually a kid school project or performance thrown in for good measure.

Thanksgiving was a small family affair. It was just the 4 of us, but I like getting out the fine china, (vintage Franciscan “Platinum Band”) and setting a pretty table.

The day after Thanksgiving when the rest of the world was out shopping, we started our “low budget black friday craft” of designing birdhouses. Each family member came up with their own design idea, and we cut them out of 1/4″ plywood. The kids each cut out their own, with some help from dad, and I was mainly in charge of the painting.

Sadie did a Gnome, Dave made a rocket,

Theo an apple with a worm, and I made an owl.

We wrapped them up for the Emery family Christmas party gift exchange. I think they were a hit!

Soon after, we took the kids for the annual trip to see Santa.

Sadie asked for a sleeping bag, while Theo for the second year told Santa to “surprise him”!!!

The next family project was a diorama Sadie needed to build of the Eastern Woodlands Indians. I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but my husband is a Visual Effects Modeler for the movie industry, so he was able to show Sadie some tricks of the trade.

First he had her go use her Playmobil to set up what she had in mind. After a few hours in her room, this is what she came up with.

Awesome! The princess dome was a stand in for the wigwam, and notice the guys carrying the deer back from the hunt, and the spear fisherman.

Then it was time to recreate it.
My husband had her carve the hills and waterfall out of 6lb foam, and taught her some paint techniques including spray and washes. They also used spray glue to put down some “grass” of dry cilantro leaves. (It was the greenest herb I had in the pantry!)

I taught her to make indians out of pipe cleaners and sculpey clay. She went on to make bows, arrows, fish and pots. We also made corn and a deer out of pipe cleaners. For the wigwam, a palm tree mat was used over a cardboard base.

The end result was fantastic.

The night we were baking the sculpey indians, I was also getting ready to go to a “Julie and Julia” party. This is basically a party where you invite 6 friends, each is responsible for a different part of the meal, and cooks a Julia Childs recipe. You then eat while watching the movie. (our fine hostess set up the fine china on TV trays!) I was in charge of baking the dessert, and came across her Calfouti recipe here. I decided to make it with blueberries, which I already had (frozen) on hand.

I then took this amusing photo of the indians, hot from the oven sharing the stovetop with the start of my calfouti.

Here are more shots of the clafouti in progress. I finished it up with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Seriously, if you ever need a delicious easy dessert, try this. It is unbelievably easy and SO good!

Yesterday we had the annual Dickens Day at the International Printing Museum. As museum volunteers, we help the patrons with some of the more simple presses to print christmas images. Theo and I were also the “poster children” for the event this year, as our (silly) photos made it into the Long Beach Press Telegram and the Daily Breeze.

Here is docent Marjorie Wilser demonstrating the 1850’s Parlour Press, and Museum Director Mark Barbour, dressed in Dickens era Holiday finery.

My fellow etsy seller In My Blue Room was selling holiday goods at the event as well, and I just couldn’t keep myself from buying these adorable birds, garbed in vintage scraps, fur and feathers. Notice the tiny skates around the neck of Mr Bird with their paperclip blade- too cute!

So that’s some of what we’ve been up to since Thanksgiving. I also had a couple more parties I attended, Finals for my classes at the university, and Sadie had a concert at school. Yes, it’s been a busy month.

Hopefully later this week I can get time to show you some of the holiday decorations, as the house is looking quite jolly!