Thoughts

Christmas Fetters.

December 09, 2011

I just sent off my Christmas cards.  And I didn't include a letter this year.  If that makes you sad, I'm sorry.  Though if you really are saddened by it, it is likely that you are a sweet old lady I met on my mission and don't read my blog or know what the internet is, and therefore have no idea what is going on in my life.  So I am most apologetic to those of you who will never get this apology.  May my unheard apology lighten your heart and brighten your day.

Still, I'm always a little bummed when I get a card with no letter, and now I am kinda wishing I had included one.  SO, since dinner is in the oven and all and the kids are wrestling in the other room, here is the letter I would write if I were to write a letter right here right now.

My kids are getting bigger.  In the usual fashion. Colin started saying "Please" yesterday.  He rubs his little belly and says "Bee!  Bee!"  And I find it impossible to say no to him.  Harrison has started telling poop jokes.  And mostly just throwing the word "Poop" and "Pee" into sentences at random.   I think we have the public school system to thank for that.

My mostly crazy and somewhat amazing husband is building a motorhome in our backyard.  From the ground up, basically.  Because he just had loads and loads of free time and was dying for a little project to fill it.  

As for me?  Last night I ate the perfect cupcake.  Thanks to Lindsay of Vanilla House Bakery, who just moved into my ward and got put in charge of the food for the ward Christmas party.  It was a chocolate cupcake with peppermint ganache in the center and the most amazing buttercream on top.  I really kind of wanted to cry, it was so delicious.  I really, REALLY wanted to hug her, but I was holding a baby, so I had to settle for an awkward shoulder pat.  And now, unfortunately, that cupcake is the standard by which all other cupcakes will be measured, and I'm sorry, Other Cupcakes of the World, but I just don't think you are going to measure up.


At this magical time of year, I am most thankful for: shatterproof Christmas tree ornaments, the fact that there is no snow on the ground outside, that my heater works, and that my neighbors have just this minute decided it is probably OK to start testing out the base in their new car-stereo sound system.  And my kids, cuz they are pretty great.

My Goals for the coming year:

  1. Get some more kids.  As much as I feel bad for my poor children for being stuck with me for a mom, I still want more.  But we really only have 2 rooms.  If we're gonna get any girls, we really need another room.  And I don't think the motorhome counts.  So my goal next year is to find someone to build us another room or 2.  I've thought about Extreme Makeover Home Edition, but they'd just want to tear the house down and start over, and I don't THINK I want that.  Do I?
  2. Punch someone in the face.  Ok, not really.  But it is on my bucket list.  I don't have anyone in mind, but sometime before I die I'd like to punch at least one person in the face, good and hard.  Now I just need to find someone who really deserves it.  
  3. Survive, keep my children alive, and stay out of jail.  

That probably about wraps it up!  Thank you so much for stopping by and we'll see you again next year!

Costumes

Fall 2011

November 04, 2011

 In September, school started.


 And Colin ate lots of hotdogs.


And he got very good at feeding himself with a fork.  He really is amazing at it.


He likes to eat just about anything, but he LOVES vegetables.  They are always the first thing gone on his plate.  He'll eat all his veggies and ask for more (in sign language) before even touching anything else.  Not until ALL the veggies are gone will he finally eat everything else.  He can finish almost a whole can of green beans in one sitting, all by himself.  

The NEXT big thing to happen was Harrison getting his new Backpack.  


 He loves Doctor Who, and was so excited when his backpack came and couldn't wait to wear it to school.  He said, "When all my friends see it, they'll say 'Yea!'".

With Harrison's new backpack, that meant that Colin got Harrison's old one. He will wear it for hours.


Harrison likes Doctor Who so much he had me make him a TARDIS out of Legos.


Here is the Doctor, standing on top, just like he always does in the show.



On September 14th I took some pictures for somebody.  Harrison and his cousin Sydney wanted in on all the picture taking, so I ended up with several of them.  Colin is now my child who won't hold still for a picture, so photos of him are pretty rare these days.



I don't know what he is doing in that picture.  I guess he wanted to have his eyebrows raised?  And when I told him and Sydney "You're a tiger!"  this is what I got:


Then Sydney and Harrison tried to pose nicely together:


 Sydney is a pro.  She thought maybe putting her arm around Harrison would help.


But it didn't.



Here are Harrison and Colin waiting together for Harrison's school bus to come.


Later that day they had a parade!  And then sat down for a jam session.



In October Harrison drew some big 'ol pictures to hang on the windows.  He said he wrote his name on this one, but when I told him it said "Ho Ho Ho" he laughed and laughed.


He was so proud of this next one.  With good reason:

He pointed out to me him, and the sun and grass and a tree, and see that purple thing over there on the right?  He said that is his old head.  At least we know where it is now.

As Halloween got closer, we all got excited:


Until finally it was time to dress up! Here is Harrison/Sheriff Woody with some of his cousins

And this year we managed to turn Colin into Captain Kirk.




We went Trick-or-Treating near Grandma's house. Which was Hilarious.  Colin would walk up and smack the front door, saying "Uh!" and when they opened the door, Harrison would shout "TRICK OR TREEEEAT!" as loud as he could.


We had a great time, though Colin couldn't figure out why he couldn't just eat his candy already.

All in all, a great Halloween.  I wonder what they will decide to be next year?

Geek Stuff

DIY Firefly Crate - Subtle, yet 有光澤

November 01, 2011

It is a problem the world over.  You are a giant nerd, but how do you incorporate that nerdiness tastefully into your home decor? You probably shouldn't line up all of your Boba Fett paraphernalia above your T.V. in the living room. Because your husband won't let you.  And you might love to display all of the Star Trek toys you got from Burger King when the new movie came out, but they are Mint in Box in the Attic, and just too much work to retrieve.  And now that you are married it is no longer "appropriate" to line the walls with your posters of David Tennant, Nathan Fillion, and Richard Ayoade.  And your authentic Hogwarts Robes just don't go with the decor.

So, what to do?  Here is what I did:


Built some nerdy Furniture!  Stylish & functional, yet it still subtly displays my love of Sci Fi Cult Films.

The story began when I saw this picture on Pinterest.


Which came from here.   So cute, right?  The only trick was this lucky girl found a couple of old crates at a thrift store and stuck some spiffy wheels onto them.  That is fine and dandy, but what if I don't have the gift for finding neato crates at my local thrift stores?  What if I ain't got no crate to stick no wheels on??  Those were the thoughts, word for word, that were running through my mind when suddenly inspiration struck and I realized I could BUILD MY OWN CRATE.  And you can too!!!  Cuz I am going to tell you how!  I can't help myself.  Doing tutorials is like a drug.  Once you start, you can't stop.  It's irresistible, for a bossy person - telling people what to do and how to do it.    They just can't get enough.  Ok.  Me.  I'm the bossy person.  I can't get enough.  I love telling people what to do.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN ROLLING CRATE

I would like to start by telling you that this only cost me $3.00 to make, but the truth is I don't have a clue.  Cuz I didn't pay much attention at the time, and I made this like a month ago, and I don't remember that far back.

First of all, I used what I had, which was 3/4 inch plywood.  Which is WAY thicker than it needs to be.  That sucker is heavy!  I would suggest using 3/8 inch plywood, but that makes the math too tricky, so I am going to tell you to make it using 1/2" plywood.

Ok, let's see if I can remember how I did it.    The finished peice is 21" high, with the wheels; 33" wide & 19.5 inches deep.  Several minutes of research and experimentation showed that would be the ideal size for my purposes.  Obviously it will be smaller if you use 1/2 plywood.

Start by cutting your wood.
Of the 1/2" ply wood you'll need 
2 peices 18"x30", 
2 peices 18"x18" and
1 peice 31"x19" (for the bottom).
If you don't have the tools or the inclination to cut at home, they will usually cut it for you at the hardware store.

The trim pieces I used are 3/4"x 2.5".  I THINK that means they are officially called 1x3's.  Maybe.    And you could surely use something thinner or different, but trying to think about what your other options might be and adjusting my measurements to account for thinner trim is just about taxing my brain beyond its capacity.  So let's just assume that the trim you use is 3/4" too, ok?

cut your trim thusly:

4 peices 18" long
4 peices 32.5" long
8 peices 13.5" long

And oh my goodness this is terrifying.  What if you go to the hardware store, buy all your wood, have them cut all your wood and then get home and find it does not fit together?  Is there any way that I won't be held accountable for the things that I write here?

MOVING ON!

Now Sand.  Everything.  As much as you feel like it.  Sanding is very personal.  And then it is time to start putting it together.  I didn't take pictures along the way, cuz it didn't occur to me.  So I will draw a picture for you, which I'm sure will work almost as good.


You put it together like that, ya shee?  I used a brad nailer to hook the boards together, but screws would probably work better.    And then the bottom peice should just fit right on top of the box you have just created, so screw that in as well.   Then it is time for the trim!  Boy, this sure is coming together quickly!

The trim goes on like this:


Wow, I really suck at this.    Not at drawing, obviously, just at Tutorials.  That is a top view.  OH!  Hey, I DID take a picture before I finished the whole thing.  Maybe this will help?


Not really?  You can see I didn't miter the edges of the trim, I just did it like in the picture.   Yep.   I really suck at this.

So, attach the trim pieces with finishing nails or a brad nailer.  And then if you want it to look all battle scarred and beat up then beat the thing up!  I was going to, but it was so pretty when I got to this point that I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  The poor thing is going to get beaten up enough just living in my house, so I decided to let nature take its course.

Then comes the fun part.  At this point my crate looked like this from the front:


But shipping crates always have a logo or shipping company or something stamped on them, so I had to pick something to put on mine.  I thought it might be fun to make it look like a something intercepted on its way to to Warehouse 13, but while I was looking for shipping images online, this one kept popping up:


Which seemed familiar, but I couldn't place it.   This helped though:


And then I read up on it on the FireflyWiki, and I knew it was the logo I wanted to use.  So I printed it off on my Cricut, used it as a stencil and I spray painted it on.  The logo is not too detailed though.  A dedicated anal person could easily cut it out with an Xacto Knife.

And then I stained the whole thing.  Right over the top of the spray painted logo.   I used Minwax Polyshades in a satin Antique Walnut.


I just did one coat.  It went on so fast and easy.  The hardest part was waiting for it to dry.

Then for the wheels!

The girl who inspired me was inspired by these crates (which don't even have any trim.  You could leave out that whole annoying attaching trim step).


Sold by SerenaAndLily.com.  She even found a website where you can buy casters in almost any color (CoolCasters.com).  But to me, that crate looks kind of like a box wearing tennis shoes.  Also, the cool casters are about $10.00 a piece.   Too steep for me!  So I was more than happy with these little black ones from Home Depot for about $2.00 a piece.


Just remember to get some screws to go with them.  I forget and had to rummage through the junk drawer at home to find some with the right kind of top in the right length.

Then I screwed them on, one in each corner, just like the pros do, and Tada!  I now have a place to keep all my toys!


And I can get them out and play with them any time I like.  Now I just wish we lived on a hill, cuz that thing is just begging for somebody to go for a ride in it.

Costumes

Are you going to the Gun Show?

October 26, 2011

I owe you guys an apology.  I believe a person can never say I'm sorry too often, so that is why I want you to imagine that I am standing next to you, whispering "I'm sorry" in your ear over and over and over, all day, in kind of a creepy voice (cuz that is the only way I know how to whisper).  Then maybe you will really feel apologized to.  Cuz I promised I would tell you how we did Richard's Steampunk costume and my steampunk gun and there you all are, waiting with baited breath and heated up Hot Glue Gun, Rub 'N Buff at the ready and I am over here just living my life and stuff.   And that is not right.  I know that.  That is on me.  Feel free to throw very small, soft objects at me.

OK!

How to Steampunk Your Man!

Step 1:  Get permission.  Most guys do not like it when you dress them up in their sleep.  They are not dolls, dogs, or babies.  Be respectful, ok?  You might get away with a haircut while they are unconscious, but I really wouldn't go any further than that.

Step 2: Look at this picture and try to recreate it.


yeah, I am really feeling too lazy to go into detail.  Here is what I will tell you: to achieve Richard's look, use Simplicity Pattern number 2895 for the vest, massacre several leather belts and give the camera lots of smouldery looks.  This was all his idea.  The Steampunk, I mean.  Halloween a couple years ago he pulled up a "Steampunk" Google image search and said "Isn't this awesome?  This is how we should dress next Halloween."  And I said "You are sitting on my foot".  But see where it led us?

I think I've mentioned that Richard always wants to make everything himself (or get ME to make it for him).  So he has always saved every bit of leather he gets his hands on.   We have quite a stash.  He wanted to make his own hat, but I found that hat at Target in their Halloween costumes for $5.00.  So he took the satin band off and replaced it with a strip of leather.  His goggles are identical to mine.  See them here.  He designed the Gators (or whatever the manly equivalent of legwarmers would be) himself.  Used some old denim to make the pattern by wrapping it around his legs till it looked right, making marks, wrapping again, making more marks, and then got me to sew it all together.   If you want better instructions than that, just ask.


And now. . . . . . .  My Steampunk Gun of Awesomeness.  



I really like it.

Here is how it looked when I bought it for $1.99 at a local thrift store.


I know.  Kind of a rip off, right?  I shouldn't have had to pay more than 50 cents for it.  But it was the size and shape I was looking for, so I splurged.  Richard told me later that when I bought it he thought it was a really stupid gun and there was no way I could turn it into a decent Steampunk gun.  But he also admitted that he was wrong and it did turn out cool, so TAKE THAT, Past Richard!

So here is the low down.  I took off that blue thing in the front cuz it was dumb, and then sanded the whole thing down.  Not really carefully, I just wanted the paint to stick, and didn't want the gun to be too smooth and shiny.  Then I took I knife and stabbed and cut and generally mauled the whole thing till it looked good and thrashed.  I wanted it to look like it had seen a few battles.  Then I spray painted the whole thing a matte black.  Next came the Rub 'N Buff.  (which I talked about HERE) And away I went!  Rubbing on a little gold here, a little copper there, and maybe some silver over here for kicks! But I needed something to breakup the monotony of the cylinder on the back, so I drilled tiny holes along the seems and superglued regular metal brads into the holes.   Then, to add a little color, I picked a couple spots and painted them with blue fingernail polish. THEN I sprayed the whole thing with a clear top coat to keep the Rub 'N Buff from rubbing off.


It was good, but not good enough!  I wanted more!!

I made the gauge by cutting a 5/8 inch tube about 1/4 inch long.  I found a picture of a gauge online, shrunk it down so it was the same size as the tube, printed it off and cut it out.  We had some sheets of thin, hard, clear plastic that we cut into a circle the same size, and glued it and the picture inside the tube.  Superglue.  My very favorite adhesive with special abilities.  Richard soldered together some copper and brass tubing into a fancy little doohickey, we glued the gauge on top, then glued the whole thing to the gun.


Then I pranced around carrying it just like a proper, well-bred, heat-packing, zombie-killer would.  Truth be told, I wear it almost everyday.  Here is me today, posing before I take out some cats in the backyard.  Pew! Pew!



I made several guns before this one, to practice, and some after, because it is just so fun.  Here are my favorites.



And that is all.  I have probably blown your mind enough for one day.  And I have used mine completely up, so I think I'll go watch "Single's 2nd Ward" for a while and recuperate.  Thank you for joining us.

Thoughts

Rest for the Rest of Us

October 18, 2011

When Harrison was 6 months old I left my husband alone with him and went to Girls Camp.  For one night.  It is nice, every once in a while, to get away.  Girls Camp, however, should not be called a "Vacation" under any circumstances.  Putting up my own tent, sleeping on the ground, having makeup put on me by a 12 year old, and mediating an argument between two hormonal girls sounds more like an episode of Survivor than a vacation.

But as a mom, it is the only one I've had.  Sure, we've taken a few family vacations, but as what's-her-name from Modern Family said, "I'm a mom travelling with her kids.  It's not a vacation, it's a business trip."  So now I've got 2 boys, the oldest of whom is almost 5 and I just wanted a tiny little break, ok?  And that is why my friends and I left our families for a night and went out and tore up the town.

I always love to read the posts people write about trips they've taken to exciting places like New York City, and Branson, Missouri (no, I'm lying.  I really don't) and so I am going to tell you all about my weekend in Fabulous St. George, UT!  Yes, you read that right!  Woohoo!

First stop, once we gathered everyone together and arrived at our destination, was lunch.  Any vacation that doesn't revolve around food is a pretty lame vacation in my book.  So we hit the nearest Taco Time and OWNED that menu and then the  "waitress" splashed hot sauce all over me and then gave me FREE Cinnamon Crustos out of guilt and shame.  SCORE!!


And then I ate 3 churros and  a few cherry empanadas for good measure.  I had to pay for those though.  I wish more people spilled things on me.


Exhausted after our social lunch, we headed to our hotel.  Motel.  Which had some really outstanding decor.  Cowboy boots stuffed unceremoniously with fake flowers, horseshoes hung in completely unexpected places, blood red walls in the bedroom and then this, just in case it all got to be too much:


But we wouldn't need that rope!  We have so much fun when we get together, having zit popping contests and taking pictures of our feet.



Wow, feet are weird looking, right?

After a wild night of cards and sour gummy bears, I pulled out my camera for a photo shoot.  They were not impressed.


I begged and pleaded and bribed and just finally convinced everyone to sit down and smile when the Hotel Tipped Over!!!


And we high-tailed it out of there, and hid out in the parking lot.  Things were just starting to return to normal, the hotel was righting itself, and we thought the coast was clear, so we decided to sneak back in for our sour gummy bears,


When out of the corner of my eye I saw it.  I started screaming, "Lookout! Lookout!  She's coming back!!  Run! Run! Run!"  and snapped this picture before diving into the nearest sewer grate.


Seriously.

So, yep.  Just about the perfect vacation.  I mean, how can you top Mothra?  We decided to end things on a high note, so we headed home after that, very rejuvenated and refreshed.  A Brush With Death and losing the rest of your sour candies can do that to a person.  A few hours drive home to snooze and gab with the gals and then the vacation was over.

And, you know, even though I came home to two sick little boys, and a mountain of barfed on clothings, towels and blankets, I was still SO HAPPY to be there.  Cuz I really missed them.  And maybe taking care of a house full of pukers is exactly where I belong.