Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Hope you all have a great and festive weekend and that there are very few lumps of coal received, no matter how naughty we may have been.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm a Little Acorn Brown...

I just popped in to show off our most recent mother/son joint venture. B and I collected acorns and acorn tops this fall, and over the months our collection had dwindled down to 5 little acorn hats. This is what we did with them.B was super nervous about drawing faces that small, and wouldn't even attempt it unless I was lightly pinching the tail end of the sharpie. I think he did an amazing job. He made a Mama one, a Daddus one, and a "the boy" one. Then with the extra tops and wooden balls we made bearded guys. Cuz, beards are awesome. Did you really have to ask?I wish we had collected hundreds of acorn tops, I'd love nothing more than to decorate a future christmas tree with just these guys. Next year, maybe, if my child labor force isn't on to my by then.

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Cut Paper, More Potential for Spoiled Surprises

Stop Right There, Mom. Do Not Read Any Further. Besides, shame on you if you decide to start reading my blog one week before Christmas. I mean really!

Wrens always remind me of my grandma, though she probably doesn't know that. I was sitting at her sewing machine, looking out her window when I identified my first wren. Not that that's a huge deal for bird watchers, but it was memorable for me as I was just learning to ID the various backyard birds of our area. So anyway, since I've been enjoying these papercutting projects, I decided a little wren for my grandma to supplement her gift would be just the ticket. Here's the result.It's a little larger than the crows, about 5 inches across. My challenge now is finding a way to package all these pieces so that they'll be safe and flat, but without incurring the expense of framing. I'm still scratching my head a little about this. Any suggestions would be warmly appreciated.

The other X-acto project I finished this morning is a little different. I wanted to make something graphic and woodland themed for my mom. She loves cards and paper products, and she makes gorgeous ones herself, so I decided to put my own spin on a set of note cards and envelopes.
It's set of 6, 3 hedgehog cards, 3 fox cards. I'm pretty excited about these, although cutting the envelopes (which are NOT origami paper) got old right quick. I've got a sore index finger to show for it, despite the super sharp Martha Stewart brand cutting blades I picked up last night. Seriously, like butter.Anyway, more to come soon. I have a stack of things I won't be able to post till after the holidays, but there's some good stuff in there. You'll see.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Papercuts, the Kind That Don't Hurt

Dad! If you chose today of all days to start reading my blog, Stop Now, you're about to spoil your own Christmas surprise!

So, in all my rambling, I forgot to mention that the Laughing all the Way design was made with cut paper shapes. The whole thing was done in less than an hour of relaxo couch time. So fun, right? The happy accident associated with all of this, is that my colored paper stash was dangerously low, so I had to dip into my origami paper instead. Eureka! Origami paper is ridiculously strong, it doesn't pull or tear, it has no grain to speak of, and it's white on the back for optimal sketching. After this discovery, and still being a little buzzed from the success and ease of my last papercut project, I decided to try my hand at something a little more complicated. I put away the scissors, pulled out the trusty exacto, and made this for my dad.
Cool, right? It's pretty small, the design is just under 4" square. Obviously, the design of this took a little more time. But I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the cutting went. And I could do the whole thing without leaving my couch throne. Yeah, turns out I may have been a little overly optimistic about the morning sickness going away. Even so, I'm at least feeling motivated, and with having scaled back my usual holiday madness, I actually have time to play. With things like sharp blades. Woohoo!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eating, Drinking and Being Merry

I'm rapidly approaching the 12 week mark and I don't know if things are turning around for me, or if the Christmas deadline has lit a toasty fire under my rump, but I had a pretty darn productive weekend. Of course, my phone was out of commission, which probably added a few extra hours to each day. My house looks like people actually live here (and maybe would even want to,) B and I made paper snowflakes and taped them to the windows, I wrapped, and sketched, and cut, and infused, and even snuck in a snowball fight. Pretty good, right? And I was actually hungry. I told Zion Saturday morning that I'd gladly rip out a throat or two if any unsuspecting schmuck walked by with strawberry mochi. Go figure.

Anyway, one of the projects I bustled over was this year's Laughing all the Way. The past few years we've made wine at Whatcom Winemakers, which has been a huge hit, and we've always called it Laughing all the Way. When word leaked that it wasn't happening this year, there were a few sour Anderson faces. So, in the interest of keeping everyone pleasantly imbibed this year, we're infusing cranberries in vodka. Fancy pants call this "Danish Schnapps". I call it "will it keep till June? Cuz it looks freakin' delicious."
The label always features a little Beckettesque figure doing something wintry, and this year, having about 1/10 of the energy needed to draw a detailed portrait, I went all Ezra Jack Keats on it. I'm so happy with it, and B is particularly thrilled with the cameo of a certain well loved fox. I'm thinking about making gift tags too, since we'll only have bottles for a few people this year.

Sorry if I'm spoiling the surprise for a few folks by posting this, I'm just feeling so good about being up to my old tricks again. Please be a good little elves and keep the label and the drink to yourselves so others will be surprised Xmas morning. Thanks!

**UPDATE** Vodka labels, gift tags, and a new seasonal header? I'm totally getting my money's (err... time's?) worth out of this puppy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh, The Weather Inside is Frightful...

Check it out! B and I made snow globes. This project took quite a bit more hands on work by yours truly (I've yet to trust my toddler with epoxy) but he made all the executive decisions, wielded the eye dropper, added the glitter... you know, all the fun stuff. Here's the stuff we used.
There are tutorials for this all over the internet and, for the life of me, I can't remember which one I liked best. Sorry about that. This was just super fun. Recently B picked up the phrase "Ohmygosh!" and he squeals it ever time he upends one of these little jars. We had a whole pile of wintry plastic flotsam, but B couldn't part with a single walrus or polar bear. I'm a little bummed we don't have an arctic fox snowglobe, but Beckett's happy. He now has his snowglobes and a pile of new animal toys.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In the Meadow, We Can Build a Snowman

So... just because I'm personally stepping out of the handmade holiday game this year, doesn't mean I can't benefit from putting another (much smaller) pair of hands to work. Child Labor, you say? How dare you! I'm simply a wildly clever and festive mother. Ahem.Beckett made these, similar to these, with remarkably little help. I made the polymer clay carrot noses the night before, cut the arms to size and turned the kid loose. He had picked out the clay, the buttons and the pipe cleaners himself and was all kinds of amped about this little project. So, I just kicked back, hummed along to the Muppet's Christmas Carol, and watched, in wonder, as all these little guys appeared. Unfortunately, my evil plan to use these snowmen to add a warm fuzzy personal touch to my internet purchased gifts was thwarted. Thoroughly. My little cohort decided, after the fact, that we should probably just keep them all. So far, he hasn't budged.

We did another little project today, but I didn't snap any pictures during the 2-3 hours of daylight we had up here in the taiga. I'll get them posted soon, and hopefully a few more little numbers we've got cookin' around here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Half Asleep in Penguin Pajamas

I was told, no ordered last weekend to post something, anything, just some puff to get the seasonally inappropriate jack-o-lantern off the top spot. So here goes. I am pregnant, due June 30th. I am epically pregnant, actually and spend most of my time horizontal. The rare vertical moment is generally spent scouring the internet for tear-worthy scraps of a few favorite tv shows. It's pretty embarrassing. Things I never would have cried over a few weeks ago make me gush, which given my general ice queen-ness (which was totally amplified in my first pregnancy- yikes!) is pretty fun. A pair of figure skaters skating to Once Upon a Time in the West made me weep, as did some cheesy youtube fan-made Being Human video.

I'm medicated now, after some drastic weight loss and a sudden and profound intimate relationship with my bathroom floor, but the meds cause comical drowsiness. I almost passed out open-mouthed in my mashed potatoes last Thursday night (thank you, Jose, for your watchful gaze and quick giggle reflex.) I'm keeping more than just 7up down, but still have that super fun sea-sick feeling, which might be a problem if I could get off the couch, but alas...

So, basically, I'm exhausted and miserable and happy and finding unbearable beauty everywhere I look. My house is a mess, my dog is sad, my son is neglected, and my husband takes it all with a certain calm amusement. He's like Eric Northman right now... mmm. Oh yeah, and I'm trying to downshift all of my Christmas project dreams into internet shopping reality. Sorry folks, I might have to put my usual "handmade holidays" on the shelf for this one. But anything exciting I complete (or even attempt) I'll post. Happy December, everyone! B and I totally cooled out to the Comcast Yule Log today, 'tis the season and all.