There was turkey and pie, games and fun, and a bonfire to top it all off. The weather was reasonable and the kids even invented a new game (Pong Pool...cross between Ping Pong and pool) And as you can see Luke takes his turn very seriously. Now that it's over; we're stuffed, we're tired...and we're thankful that we've had such a good year. And we look forward to the exciting year ahead...and hope that by next year we might be able to have Thanksgiving out our new house.
I've been thinking about holiday gifts...but not so far into it that I've sketched or planned anything. I know what I'm doing for Jon...so that's good. But I haven't the slightest idea what to do for the kids yet. They want pillow pets...which I happily suggested we could make...but, I was kindly (and emphatically) told that only the store bought ones would do. Ok then...thank goodness for grandma. They are purchased and ready.
I had bigger plans orginally and wanted to incorporate wood working into my gifts this year. But I'm just not as far along in the process of moving and using power tools as I thought. Once we're living in the camper at the new house the power tools will all be accessible and wood will be plentiful and I can start messing around. But for the time being the garage looks like it exploded. You have to cross the swamp of firewood to gain access to the pit of despair (mostly a mixture of old books, purses and junk that we don't know what to do with). I had so many thoughts of about gifts when I thought I would have all this time. But somehow the time I gained seems to have disappeared. How is that possible? Domestic black hole maybe? (DBH for future reference) I'm at home for the 8 hours that I used to be at work...but my house isn't cleaner...and I'm not making anything more than before...maybe less!
Zoiks. Maybe I need to try out fly lady just so I can keep track of the time...and figure out where it's all going! (you know, besides into the abyss of the DBH) Am I the only one who has one hovering over their house?
I can't seem to focus on what to make. Maybe because my life is totally different now and I'm constantly trying new things to see what I like. Curriculum, bread recipes, cleaning strategies, etc. Plus I have a house to jack up, and rotted floor joists to replace. Then I have another house to completely pack up and move out of. The easiest and most enticing things on my to do list is to move into a camper for the next 6 months. Is that strange? (Silly question OF COURSE IT IS) But it's enticing because it takes away the safety net, the excuses and the wasted time. So really I can't wait. In the meantime I've wanted to open the store again, but I feel like I just can't focus on what to create. There are so many things I want to do and want to try. I don't want to go back to making the same stuff, I want to stretch myself. But at the same time, it isn't the time to work on labor intensive stuff...I have enough of that coming my way. So far I'm taking it step by step. A loaf of bread here, a quilt there. I stopped sketching about two weeks ago because all-sketch and no-sew makes me unproductive. But I'm working my through it. It's like writer's block, except I'm overwhelmed with ideas and don't know where to start.
Laurel and I escaped the boys this morning to go to a pre-show of a production of Cheaper by the Dozen. Just us girls and no distractions. We got there early and I had to wait to go in, so we took a seat at an empty table decorated with Beatrix Potter books (don't know why) and we made it through two and a half before going in. It was fun to be in our own world of silliness, me making voices and her giggling. Then we watched the play, which was adorable and heart warming. (and did I mention FREE!)
After we left, Laurel wanted to go to Starbucks (the lake picture is from the Starbucks...there is a deck, and a dock) She got a hot chocolate and a polar bear cookie, then we walked down to the lake. She collected leaves and we talked about fall, and reflections on the lake...and how much we like having time together. I can't believe it was August the last time we had a specially planned girl date!
I need to make sure I do this every week, with each of my kids.
I completed day 2 of week 4 of the couch to 5k running program yesterday. It was hard, but totally doable. And I've found that this time around (and for the very first time) I'm actually running faster and longer towards the end of my program. I'm able to push it when the guy says to, and I'm able to add a minute or 2 at the end of the run. I try to do that so that the transition to the following week doesn't seem so bad.
Everything has been moving along incrementally, but I remembered that somewhere along the way there was a big jump in running time...but I just couldn't remember what it was. So I looked it up online (normally I just wait until the guy on the podcast tells me when to run)...but for this upcoming week I wanted to see what was on the horizon. To my shock and horror, day 3 of week 5 is a straight 20 minute run. The longest run in week 4 is 5 minutes...and that's not a walk in the park (if you catch the pun). So how in 2 runs am I supposed to progress from a 5 minute run to a 20 minute run?!?! Ok...let me think this through...I'm running tomorrow, then Friday (day1 week 5)...then Sunday (day2 week 5)...then the big run will be on Tuesday. Oh my. Tuesday will be the big day.
My doubts are starting to take over. But, this time around I've been doing so well...I'm just going to trust the program. Deep breath....whew...ok, I'm better for now. Wish me luck!
I've been inspired by so many things this year...and yet I feel like I just can't decide what to make myself. Rather than focus on what I can do, I like to look at all the things I can't do (yet). And lately I haven't even had a chance to do that. Today I'm mentally overwhelmed with the amount of junk in my house that seems to have no where to go. As we're thinking through the beginning stages of packing up the house that has been our home since our family's inception...it is overwhelming to decide where to begin. What gets tossed? What gets packed? What can I do with it until we get boxes to pack it into? Where do we store those boxes until we have a home to move into?
For this moment in time I'm pretending it doesn't exist...and instead looking at the things over the last few months that I've stored away for project ideas and inspiration. Some are sewing projects, others woodworking, and some are ideas for the new house. (I never stop thinking about design ideas for the house) Every time I see something I like I save the picture in my files so that I don't have to remember them. Here are a few that I've kept...
It was the best of times and it was the worst of times... We just came back from a wonderful and horrible trip to Louisiana to visit my family for a funeral. It was so good to see everyone, and to smell the bayou air. To see all the places I used to visit. They say you can't go back...and I suppose that's true. In years past we would have been at my Mimi and Papa's on the bayou, walking, exploring and being free. The smell of warm tropical air mixed with the bayou and my grandmother's camelia bushes always greeted me when I walked out the back door. I got to see family I haven't seen in a long time. I got to have my Uncle's gumbo which I haven't had in an even longer time. My kids got to know people they either hadn't seen or didn't remember. Of course everything was bittersweet because of the funeral. This is the first funeral that I've gone to where someone just wasn't old enough to pass away. It wasn't fair. Not to her, not to us and especially not to her kids. But they handled it well. My only regret is not being able to stay longer and catch up with them more. But it made us realize that we need to make these trips more often, and not just for weddings and funerals. I guess I just felt like since my grandparents were gone and their house wasn't home for me anymore that there was nowhere to go to. In retrospect that was ridiculous. We had a wonderful time staying with my Aunt and Uncle, my kids had a blast playing with them. I loved reconnecting with my cousins who in most of my memories are children, but in reality are all adults now. And...this trip was the first time I heard Jon say he was hoping to move into the camper within the month. Oh yeah...time to get cracking.
One night when I couldn't sleep I got up to sew something. Once I got out to the sewing room (aka the garage) I found I just wasn't in the mood to sew, but I did want to create something. Then I remembered while I was cleaning I accidentally dropped a business-card-magnet into the sink and the business card was ruined. So I took off the business card and saved the magnet for just such an occasion. With a pair of scissors, some Modge Podge and fabric scraps I made this. It shouldn't have delighted me as much as it did...but I still smile when I see it on the fridge.
The next day I figured why not let the kids do one too. So I took a couple more useless advertisements off the fridge and let the kids pick their fabrics and designs and they glued it down with fingers and Modge Podge. And if in the end something isn't perfect, grab the scissors and cut. Think of the possibilities! You could do your last name, the alphabet, a nature scene that the kids could play with, a nativity set, etc etc. This is some seriously easy, cheap (free actually if you have the stuff on hand) and totally quick project that the kids can be proud of for years. (and will make you smile every time you grab something from the fridge) And you can't screw up no matter what you do...it will still come out cute. And now instead of those ugly magnets from local stores you have your own reused-recycled-remagnet.
I'll be doing more soon...I just can't help myself...ugly magnets must be reborn!
I love gifts that are wrapped as if the wrapping were as important as the present. It makes the whole process of giving and receiving so much more special. It's my youngest sister's birthday, and for the last few years I have given her handmade gifts. (To be frank, I think she's sick of them) So...I decided to purchase a gift. It's not like she said I had to, but you can tell when someone just doesn't really want a handmade purse AGAIN. (I know, I don't get it either) Anyway, I found a reasonably priced and pretty unique looking necklace at Target. But it just felt so sad to put it in a plain boring gift bag.
I decided to try my hand at the twist-tie leaves I posted about earlier. And this was a truly recycled project...instead of wire (which I didn't have) I used old twist ties from store bought bread. I grabbed some scraps of green and went to work. I used a contrasting thread because she's 12 and I thought it would be more fun. As for the wrapping itself, it's a scrap of an antique pillow case from my grandmother. It was literally falling apart and I had already been using it for my current quilt project, so I took a scrap of the beautifully scalloped edge and turned it into a little handbag. Then I tied it closed with twine (leftover from the banner project), and twisted on my two leaves. (or four leaves depending on how you quantify it)
Not too shabby, huh? Even a gift card would seem unique wrapped like this.
I found these awesomely versatile (and totally easy to make...for ANY skill level) twist-tie leaves at a free holiday crafting ezine called Gifted. (It's really long, but has some real gems hidden within)
This for starters... and this... how about this? (I have to do this with Laurel...what an amazing gift or decoration...made by mom and kid together!)
And there were tons of cool gift picks to buy as well. How about these pirate playing cards for $6? Luke would love them! Check it out if you have 10-15 minutes to flip through the 100+ pages...you'll have to flip through some stuff quickly, but it is worth it...I promise.
We finally finished our drywall project in class...and I finally understand why Jon wants us to hire someone to finish the drywall. Seriously not fun. And after all our hard work...we got an 85%. Not sure how that translates into real life on a scale of yipes-I-wouldn't-want-live-there to this-drywall-looks-awesome (you know...because people say that when they walk into a house...).
Now we're onto dropped ceilings, which I didn't want to learn (so much so that I considered not even going to class). But that seemed lame...so I went, and now I can install a dropped ceiling...even though I hate them.
Next up...trim. I can't wait to start using the coping saw!!
(drawn by Laurel...I loved the detail she put into the stripes and leaves)
The kids just weren't quite ready for Halloween to be out of their system, so yesterday they...
Stayed in their Halloween PJs
(re)Sorted their candy
Scooped out the rest of the pumpkins for roasting and turning into pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup and pumpkin muffins (actually we ended up having turkey sausage-pumpkin casserole and pumpkin pie with a trick-or-treated Hershey bar shaved on the coolwhip...VERY fancy) ((And I learned that when I ask my hubby for whipped cream...he gets cool whip...and doesn't seem to understand that it's not the same thing.))
And I started a new quilt yesterday. It hasn't progressed far because of kids and all the pumpkin roasting going on...but there is something exciting about watching the beginning come together and waiting for the end result. It's called Always, and it will have it's own post soon (when it's done). But here is a tiny sneak peak... Also, I saw these branch-stemmed rustic pumpkins over on The Lettered Cottage this morning, and I really want to make them. They'd be so cute tossed into a big basket, or an old wagon.
I thought it would be years before my kids wanted to dress up like scary people. (I don't know where my kids get this...up till now it's been monkey, kangaroo, skunk, mermaid, etc) Laurel has a natural (a slightly freakish love of Halloween) and I think for the most part Luke just follows what big sis does.
Laurel wanted to be a vampire, and chose a glittery pink silky fabric for her cape. (I thought up the hair bats) And her aunts glittered and made her up with make up. (Abby even willingly went as Laurel's vamp victim)
Luke chose to be the pirate zombie Morgan Moonscar (from Scooby Doo Zombie Island). I already had a pirate hat from his first birthday (I just had to adjust the size) and a sword (known affectionately in our house as a hee-yah...as in that karate sound you make when you're attacking someone). So here it all is...Halloween 2010. Carved pumpkins...check. Got faces painted...check. Went trick-or-treating...check. Waiting for kids to go to sleep to raid their candy...check and double check.
Becoming Maggie Blue is the journey to becoming the person I want to be. After many years of living a conventional life, we decided to move to Alaska and live on a boat. Currently we're traveling full time in a camper with our two kids, exploring North America. We have no plan beyond going slowly and seeing all there is to see, and taking the time to connect and be together as much as possible in these special years.