A Sign of the Times



Some days just feel like this, don't they?

It is time to Toot

My own horn.  Cuz not all of my homemade Christmas Gifts ended in disaster this year.  Tears, yes.  Large quantities of blood, of course.  Sweat? No!  I'm a lady, chumps!  I ain't got no sweat glands!

My big homemade project was quiet books for each of the boys.  My mistake was, I didn't think it WAS a big project.  I got everything else done by Thanksgiving, and figured I would just work on the quiet books in the evenings after the boys were in bed for a few nights and turn those puppies out in no time.  Didn't work out quite that way though.  I finished at 12:30 am on December 22nd.  And I was working almost every possible second until then.  I was up until 2:00 am for a couple of weeks straight.  Just a fun little tid bit of info I though you might enjoy.

So, I made Colin's quiet book based on a pattern found on Serving Pink Lemonade.  It is cute and most importantly, free!  Though I would have paid money for it. Look how cute?


She really should be charging for that.  I'm not gonna show you the whole book, though, cuz my book looks just like hers for the most part.  If you care, click that link up there.  Or click this one. Or even this one.  It doesn't matter to me.

I did a few different pages though, like these:


I copied that rocket page from Handmade By Jill.    So far, Colin just tries with all his might to rip that rocket ship out of there.  Those poor astronauts are never gonna make it to the moon as long as Colin is the guy at mission control.

And then I added this camping page, which I also copied from Handmade by Jill.  But it was my idea to add the moon and tree in there.  Yep.  MY IDEA.  I got a few.  I especially love the little ropies holding the tent down.  I think Richard told me they are Guy Ropes?  I don't know.  I thought that sounded pretty sexist.


So, you just get back after a rigourous hike to the top of the summit of the peak of the mountain, and can't wait to curl up in your top-of-the-line sleeping bag, and Surprise!  There is a Bear in your tent!

Rar.

Colin loves him.  He spends a lot of time hugging that crooked-bellied little bear.  Actually, he doesn't really care about much else in the book.  But he loves to play with that zipper and hug the bear.  And now I have to wonder why I wanted him to learn how to use a zipper in the first place?  Now he unzips my purse and pulls out all the change, cards and other, more embarrassing items which are none of your business.  He unzips his jammies and his coat and he opens rogue bags of curlers I didn't realize I had anymore and spreads them all over the house. It's wonderful.

Moving On.

I made Harrison the "JEDI QUIET BOOK" which you have probably seen on Pinterest.  You can see it here. It is very, very awesome.  She is crazy awesome.  AND she also has a Star Trek Quiet Book, which you have got to see.

I bought the pattern for the book from her etsy shop, but - and I only tell you this in case you plan to make a book identical to mine - I made a few changes.

I used stiff, non fusible pellon for the white pages, and attached my felt to the pellon with Wonder Under for the black pages.  Then I sewed two pages back to back to make them two sided instead of just one.  TRICKSY!

I made the letters on this page removable:


And now I know that at this point in his life, Harrison is not really interested in snaps.

The girl who made this book is probably crazy.  And I mean that in the nicest possible way.  There was so much hand embroidery required. The time involved is mind numbing.  You could build yourself a violin from scratch in less time.  She had lots of cute hand embroidered instructions written on each page, but I left them off, since Harrison can't read and hand embroidery is only fun if you are in your nineties.  I just put big titles on the pages instead, like so:


Oh, and look who is inside the Death Star! (See all that embroidered detail on the Death Star?  Yep!  Crazy!  Richard kept saying.  "You're doing it too.  Who is the crazy one?")


The girl who made this book didn't include a Chewbacca finger puppet, so I bought some finger puppets from  The Idea Room.  All the finger puppets above came from there.  That guy on the left there is Luke.  Richard thought it was Anakin, since Luke never wore an oufit that looked like that.  Now I know.  And now I know you can't trust every pattern you buy on the internet.

I wanted Harrison's book to have as many pages as Colin's, but that left me quite a few pages short.  So Richard and I had some brain storming sessions to come up with some other pages we could throw in.  Making my own pages was by far the funnest part.  Here is what we came up with.

A dress-up Luke page!


I found a Luke Skywalker paperdoll here, which included every single outfit Luke ever wore.  It is awesomeness itself.  I printed them on t-shirt transfer paper and ironed it onto the pellon.  Worked beautifully.  Then I sewed Luke onto the page, and made a Jedi-y sort of pocket for all his clothes to go in.


This is Harrison's favorite page.  He likes to try the clothes on all of the finger puppets.



Then you get to help the Millenium Falcon navigate the asteroid feild!


OOh!  So difficult!    I feel like those asteroids need some more detail, but since I was making this at about 1:00 am on December 21st, I really didn't care anymore.

And then we have the page I am most proud of:

the Build Your Own Lightsaber page!


He's got all these spiffy parts, and with the magic of velcro, gets to put them together into a light saber of his own.  He would really like it if the light sabers came off the page so he could swing them around and fight with them, but the magic of velcro can only do so much.


I made that little yellow pocket to hold all the light saber pieces, but it isn't nearly big enough. I had to add another pocket inside the back cover to hold it all.

And so, in conclusion, Harrison's book is way too big!  There is just too much stuff in there.  And too many removable parts.  This is meant as a quiet book for church, and it sort of works, but not until the pew is strewn with every single item that can be removed out of the entire book.

I don't necessarily recommend putting so much time and effort into a gift your children will try to destroy.  And while Harrison really likes the book, I think, the only pages he spends any time on are the Luke page and the light saber page.  And he likes the finger puppets.  A lot.   Really, I should just turn the pages he likes into seperate little Folder Games that he can take out ONE AT A TIME and then put away.  If only he would listen to me.  Which he doesn't.  Especially not when I am whispering.  Like I usually do at church.  Usually.  Someone is yelling, but 63% of the time, it isn't me.

Any Questions?

The Upstairs Bathroom - Volume 1

Do you remember how we bought this 100 year old house so that we could fix it up?  Don't ask me why.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Well things are finally happening again. We've taken a break, but we are back in the saddle and ready to ride!  And that is enough horse back riding metaphors for one evening.  So, the deal is, we are working on our upstairs bathroom.  It has been only a toilet and a sink and a dumping ground for stuff that has no home for a couple of years now (and "dumping" was probably the wrong word to use in this instance), but the stars finally aligned and we are moving forward.  We need to get this bathroom done in a couple of months, but I have some pretty serious doubts that it is going to happen that fast. I'm sorry that you too will just have to wait to see the exciting conclusion to The Bathroom Remodel, whenever that will be.  Cuz waiting is the poops.  (Again, bad word choice.  Sorry.)

For years we had a very clear picture in our minds of how we wanted the bathroom to be, but once we cleaned the room out and looked at it again, we scrapped the idea and started over.  I'm not really sure why, but our new layout is so much better than the last.

Here is the space empty.
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We need to fit in a shower and claw foot tub (which came with the house), and a toilet and vanity.

But I also really wanted extra storage space.  There are no closets in this house, and I just need somewhere to stick my sheets besides shoving them under the bed.  So we marked out the placement of things with some masking tape.
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My other imperative was somewhere to put laundry baskets/hampers.  At least 1 for whites and 1 for colors, because I don't want the whole family's dirty laundry being stored in my bedroom any more.  Figuratively and literally.  I've been poring over Ikea's website trying to find a way to make their shelves do exactly what I want.   It is proving to be much more difficult than I thought it would be.  But I think I've found something I can live with.  Laundry hampers INSIDE the bathroom storage cabinet.  Crazy?  Maybe so!

The whole thing is difficult, actually.  When it finally came time to pick out colors and tiles and styles, we realized we weren't at all sure what we want.  I'm not one of those unlucky woman who can do whatever they want when it comes to decorating cuz her husband either doesn't notice or doesn't care and just leaves it all to her.  My husband has opinions.  They have to be taken into account.  So here we are trying to pick what we want and be considerate of the other's feelings and opinions and still have it the way we want all while being polite.  It is exhausting!

Also, I made a list of every single thing that I could image needing for the bathroom, and pricing them out so we knew how much we'd be spending.  I really kind of thought we could do the whole thing for about $3000.    Building contractors the world over are laughing at me right now.  

Still, if we got the very cheapest of everything, we could probably come in around $3000.  The only problem is, I don't want the very cheapest of everything.  I want to love by bathroom.  I just don't want to spend $6700 + dollars to make that happen. So, the challenge begins.  Create a bathroom we love.  Don't spend a fortune to do it.  No one has ever attempted anything like this before  We are revolutionizing the industry here  Seriously, why aren't there any blogs out there about decorating on a dime?????

Challenge #1 was the vanity.  The space for the vanity is 60" wide.  That is 5 feet, for those of you who are bad at math.  And it turns out, vanities that wide are pretty hard to find for less than $1000.  I don't want to spend $1000 on a vanity.

Still, we've managed to make a decision.

We went to Ikea and bought lots of things and threw them in a heap in our bedroom and then spent Saturday putting this together:
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We left those two drawers out of the left side because that is where the sink is going to go.  This will be our vanity.   And if you are thinking "Wow.  Blue.  Are you sure you are going to like it?"  The answer is, I hope so.  I know I like it now, but once it is in and installed with a sink in it and a mirror above it, will I like it then?  I sure hope so, cuz by then it will too late.

And that is all for now!  Check back in tomorrow!  I won't have written again by then, but I might have fallen asleep on my keyboard and maybe you could wake me up?

This Post May Not Be Entirely True.

My dad’s philosophy of Gift Giving was always, “I will give you what I want to give you, not what you want to get.”

Which maybe sounds a little crazy.  But I like it.  I probably didn't love it when I was a kid, but I don't really remember.  And my dad always made us the coolest gifts, so I doubt I was doing much complaining.  It takes a ton of the stress out of gift giving. Instead of trying to divine what that one special thing is that they want most in the world, you get to figure out what YOU want to give THEM.  Homemade gifts fit perfectly into this philosophy.

At this point I was going to go off on a lecture about how wonderful and important homemade gifts are, but it was really boring.  And being bored is something up with which I will put.  I'll just sum up by saying that I made a bunch of gifts this year and bought a lot less, in hopes of enjoying the season a little more than I usually do.

I know making gifts adds more work, but I stress and stress over what gifts to buy for people and by the next year I can't even remember what I gave them, and they probably don't either, so what was the point?   At least I remember the stuff that I make.  And if it is really ugly, or I REALLY mess it up, the chances are that they are going to remember it too.  Those are Special Christmas Memories, right there.

So now, you lucky dog you,  I'm gonna show you what I made this year.  Don't ask me why.  I just want to.  Ready?


THING 1:





I made one of these for my mom and one for my mother-in-law. It is an 8x10 picture glued onto canvas, which I bought at Walmart. I followed this tutorial. I got the pictures here, but there are some really nice temple pictures here as well. In photoshop I added names and wedding dates, and printed them at Winkflash for less than a dollar each. Very cheap and easy. Just like me!

I gave this one to my mom and she said, "Oh, that is so pretty, but Elesa. . . that is not the right temple."
Let's check again, shall we?


I said, "Uh yeah, that's the Jordan River Temple, isn't it?"
She said, "Yes, but we weren't married in the Jordan River Temple."
me - "WHAAT??!!!!!"
My husband said " I could have told you that. The Jordan River Temple wasn't even build in '67"
I sweetly told him where he could stick his very useful but Much-Too-Late knowledge of temple history and asked my mother what temple she WAS married in and she had the nerve to say, "Logan".

I won't bother recounting our entire conversation. The language isn't suitable for a family friendly blog like mine. But I tried very hard to convince her that she was wrong. I've ALWAYS known my parents were married in the Jordan River Temple. Every time we drive passed it I think "There is the temple where my parents were married." It has always been so. And now she is telling me they got married in the Logan Temple? It is ridiculous! How does she know anyway? It was a long time ago. It was a very exciting day, and her eyes were so filled with starlight and love that she could have been married on the moon for all she would remember! I threw the picture on the floor, and as I stormed out I shouted, "I'll give you what I want to give you! Not what you want to get!"

Crazy old woman. And now my mom will probably say that she doesn't remember the conversation going like that at all, which just further proves my point, that it is her memory, and not my gift, which is flawed.