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

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!


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    Greta said...

    I have missed your posts!
    And you didn’t disappoint! Those bridhouses are amazing. Wow. You guys are all so talented. The diorama, though, that blew me away. I love it. I really, really love it. I just showed it to 5 year old James and he said, “can we make that. Right now?”

    You are so inspiring.
    Can’t wait to see the decorations,

    December 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm
    linda said...

    That’s a lot all at once! ‘Tis the season, I guess!
    My favorite part is how Dave had Sadie do a mock-up out of Playmobile first.
    Like a rough draft. That picture totally should have been in Sadie’s write up. Wow!
    My second favorite thing is the Indians and Blueberries picture!
    My third favorite thing is Theo’s punishment. You should frame it.

    December 23, 2009 at 8:31 am