29 November 2011

My Aunt Annie and Uncle Tom live on the edge of a river overlooking a small, school bus sized island covered with evergreens and marsh grass. Yup. It's amazing.

For years, my cousin John has talked about decorating one of the trees with Christmas lights. Great idea, right? But, as you can imagine, running electrical chords and battery packs to marshy island in the middle of a river can be, well, problematic. Enter solar powered twinkle lights...

After a quick trip to Home Depot and the world's shortest canoe ride, John and I waded through ankle-deep mud to string solar lights around one of the trees. The sun set a few hours later and suddenly it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

OK, so, it looks a little more like a Christmas bush than a Christmas tree. Stringing the lights up high wasn't an option. Ladders and canoes don't mix.
Side note: Have you tried solar lights lately? I was disappointed with my purchase a couple years ago (they were expensive and didn't give off half as much light as the plug-in variety) but technology has come a long way in two years! They are still a little more expensive than standard string lights, but they are every bit as bright. And more convenient too --the lights automatically turn on at sunset and fade a few hours later (timing depends on how much light and energy they absorb that day). I can't speak to the quality of every brand on the market, but for what it is worth, I can tell you we were very impressed with these solar icicle lights from GE.  If anyone else has recommendations, please chime in the comments --I am going to go out and buy some as soon as I get home.

28 November 2011

I'm not buying any wrapping paper this year. Stop by every Monday until New Years for an easy gift wrap idea featuring everyday items.

Despite my best efforts to bring my own reusable shopping bags, I always accumulate plastic bags. Always. They are good for scooping kitty litter, but not much else. What to do? Make some bows! Or pom-poms, rather. Click here for the tutorial. Yes, I am recycling an old post! Forgive me -- I am with family back in Virginia for short break. Lots of fun and leftover turkey. Lots of new posts and pictures to follow soon :)

23 November 2011

Wearable Muppet Flair

Today is the day! You can now see The Muppets in movie theaters across the USA. Who is going tonight? If you are cooking up a turkey storm for tomorrow, I’m guessing the answer is no.  If you aren’t doing the cooking for tomorrow, I suggest you do the cook a favor and get out of their way. Get out of the house and go to see the movie!

Question is; what to wear? Hmmm…

A full out Miss Piggy costume would be weird, but a bright orange fuzzy hat and scarf set? I’M ON IT.

This hat is courtesy of my pal Peach who sells her beautiful creations on her website: Hats by Peach. If you like fun, interesting, one-of-a-kind knit-wear, you will want to check it out!

Peach and I started swapping emails ages ago and I was immediately taken with several of her pieces –the only thing that stopped me from ordering is my ginormous head. No really, it’s embarrassingly huge.   I can never find readymade hats that fit.  Even boring men’s knit caps can be a stretch at times. Pair that with my occasionally ginormous hair, and…Houston, we have a problem. I have never had a fun winter hat. Until now...

You can imagine how THRILLED I was when this beauty arrived. Peach made is especially for me --bright orange and just my size with lots of Muppety flair! I will be wearing this hat to the movies tonight, and throughout the winter. The whole neighborhood might come to know me as The Crazy Orange Hat Lady. Mission accomplished!

It reminds me of Bip Bippadotta (aka: The Manana Nah Guy.)

OH MAN I LOVE THIS HAT. Thanks again Peach!

PS: As part of our swap, I am making Peach a wreath (don’t worry Peach, it’s in the works!) stay tuned…



22 November 2011

Muppet Party

Muppet Baby Shower anyone? I know. Amazing stuff right? The food, the decorations, the Rainbow Connection cake, the KERMIT PINATA. Wow and WOW!

All of these projects come from one of my new favorite bloggers, Alicia Policia -- you have to check out the full posts on her site. Prepare to be amazed! 

Original images by Alicia Policia, spotted and sourced via Pinterest (Thanks Anne!)

21 November 2011

My heart be still, THE MUPPETS ARE ALMOST HERE! I have been waiting for months, no, years for the return of my beloved friends. It's been far too long. And the day is almost here.  

It's time to play the music. It's time to Light the lights...
In celebration of this momentous occasion, I am going to spend this week (Nov 21-25) highlighting my favorite Muppet-esque projects from some of the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational people I know. Let's kick it off with The Amazing Rebecca!

You remember Rebecca's Rhinestone Darth Vader and Graphic Novel Wall, right? As if her house wasn't fantastic enough, now she has gone and made it Muppetastic (yes, that's a real word, goshdarnit) with pom-pom wall art and faux fur furniture. LOOK AT THIS!

To make the two part pom-pom 'painting' she glued each Muppet colored fuzz ball to two blank white canvases. Don't you want to reach through the screen and run your fingers over the surface?

Do you want that ottoman as much as I do? I have added googly eyes to clothes and Jewelry, but furniture? Whoa. This might be a game changer.

Again, THANK YOU THE AMAZING REBECCA for sharing her home and her talents with all of us :) Who else thinks Rebecca needs to start a blog? I would be Follower #1!

I'm not buying any wrapping paper this year. Stop by every Monday until New Years for an easy gift wrap idea featuring everyday items. 

Between stocking stuffers and Chanukah gifts, it seems like everyone I know is always hunting for easy ways to gift wrap little things. I thought it might be fun to address the problem with one of my favorite materials --coffee filters, and something everyone has around the house --cardboard tubes. 

This is a fun, munchkin-freindly project that does not require special skills to come out looking fancy schmancy. No tape. No glue. No mess. You like it already.

The coffee filters are starchy enough to stay in place without the sticker, but a good Santa sticker never hurt anyone. Plus, it will keep away any pre-holiday gift peepers.

Not that I have any experience with gift peeping.

Confession: One time my cousin John left town a week before Christmas and had to deliver my gift wrapped up in a bike chain and a combo lock just to keep me away. The plan was to prevent pre-Christmas peeping by waiting to deliver the lock combo via phone on Christmas morning (clearly, John knows me a little too well).

Another Confession: Shortly after he left I used a screw driver to scrape away some of the paper between the chain links to see what was inside. Sorry, John :(

No coffee filters around the house? Use tissue paper.

Gifts too big for 2" tubes? Use larger tubes from paper towels, or, *gasp*, wrapping paper.

Dear Person Who Found My Site by Googling "Grateful Dead groundhog tuffet" on November 17:
I have no idea what you are looking for, but I feel compelled to meet you half way. Here is a batch of Grateful Dead style tie-dye tuffets.  Pretend the groundhog is on the inside.

Happy Holidays!


18 November 2011

Happy Weekend

The trees are bare but the Screcrow is still standing.

I fear this weekend marks the end of Fall.


Winter, you better be nicer than last time.


17 November 2011

Scented Pinecones 101

This is one of those super easy craft projects that I assume everyone learned in kindergarden, or girlscouts, or from their Aunt with the exceptionally long nose hair.

You know the one.

However, I see folks buying these things at the grocery store for $5.00 a bag. It takes all my might and muster not to butt in and yell over the cart, YOU CAN MAKE THESE YOURSELF, YOU KNOW.  

And it’s easy. And super cheap. And the scent will last for years. And there are plenty of things you can do with the pinecones, but we will get to that in a week or two. For now, let’s just get the party started.

Go to the park/woods/roadside evergreen and gather ye pinecones. If the cones  are open, the seeds have been spread and  serve no purpose, so feel free to gather as many as you like, Just be sure to leave the closed pine cones behind as they still have work to do.

BAKE ‘M: Line an old cookie sheet with foil and bake at 200F (93C) for 30 minutes. This will kill all the cooties and melt off the sappy stuff, (sometimes known as pitch).

BAG ‘M: After the pinecones are cool, throw them into a plastic garbage bag.

SCENT ‘M: Sprinkle pinecones with 20 to 30 drops of essential oils. Cinnamon oil is always a holiday favorite. I also like to mix in a few dashes of eucalyptus and clove oils, but cinnamon is the base. Other fun things to add if you have them around: Dried rosemary, cloves, lavender, pine needles, juniper branches, cedar chips (leftover from BBQ season)… just about anything that smells great when you rub it a little. One time I carved up an old hunk of French soap and threw it in. I have heard of people using the stubs of scented candles. You decide!

HARD PART: Seal the bag with a rubber band and leave it alone for at least five days. Ten is better. The longer you let the oils permeate the pinecones, the longer the scent will last.

Next Time on Pinecones 101: Star Spangled Warblers. (And not the kind you are thinking of)

16 November 2011

Pajki ornament. Museum of Science and Industry, December 2010
Real Conversation Between Myself and a Co-worker Over Lunch Today
      So, any big plans for making holiday decorations this year?

Yes! I am determind to make a pajaki. Maybe out of water bottles. Or cardboard. I'm still deciding.

     What's pajaki?

It's a traditional Polish spiderweb. 

      Why would you want Polish spiderwebs for Christmas? 

The spiderweb isn't for me, it's for the baby Jesus.


The baby Jesus comes in the Christmas tree and scares out all the spiders, leaving behind a beautiful web of paper flowers. You hang it from your ceiling.

15 November 2011

I love hedgehogs.

Less than I love possums, but perhaps even more than I like beavers.

So that says a lot.
Tangent: Beavers are rad. And dangerous. And industrious. If you are a Netflix subscriber, watch this sometime.

Last spring I predicted chickens would be the new owl, but now I think I was wrong. This will be the year of the hedgehog.

Aren't they wonderful? Hedgehogs are so yin and yang; prickles on the outside, cuddly on the inside. What is not to love? And their shape is so dynamic and interesting, well it is no wonder trendy peoples are joining in the hedgehog parade. Ultra modern hedgehog dryer balls anyone? 


14 November 2011

This clever video is making the rounds across the blogosphere. Here, I'll add to the pile:

Sad part is, I was 45 seconds in before I realized it was a a joke.

...yeah, so, I guess the joke is on me :)

See, I have been using the internet since 1997. And in fourteen years, I cannot recall a single occasion when I said no to a cat video.

And really, why would I?

They make me happy.

And that's more than I can say for anything that came with a receipt.

See, I like to think I am a reasonably savvy consumer when it comes to my purchases. I do my homework and avoid ad hype. I do not exercise brand loyalty. I do not know the name of the company that made my shoes, or where I'll buy my next big-ticket electronic device. Nor do I care.

But I'll tell you one thing: if a company advertised via cat video, I wouldn't be able to say no. It's like my wallet would fly out of my purse, flip open and bust out a flashing neon sign that read OPEN FOR BUSINESS! TAKE MY MONEY! YOU LIKE CATS AND I LIKE CATS SO I TRUST YOU! LET'S DO BUSINESS! EXCEPT IT'S NOT REALLY BUSINESS BECAUSE YOU ARE JUST TAKING MY MONEY AND I'M NOT GETTING ANYTHING I NEED IN RETURN! EXCEPT A NEW CAT VIDEO! YAY CAT VIDEO! TAKE MY MONEY!

...yeah, so, I guess the joke is on them :) 

Update 11/15/11: Thanks to Ann's comment, I have just been sucked into Japanese Youtube sensation, Tomomama. Click here to get sucked in with me.  See, case in point: If someone had put an Olive Garden bib on that kitty, I'd have no choice but to drive to the suburbs and eat there for lunch today. It doesn't look like Tomomama is eating Italian food, and I seriously doubt they even have Olive Gardens in Japan, but I would trust his endorsement just the same. This is the power of indirect persuasion advertising. This is why cats make the best spokespeople.

I'm thinking about getting Lola an agent.

I decided not to buy any gift wrap supplies this holiday season.*

For someone who loves wrapping paper and ribbons as much as me, this is going to be, shall we say, difficult.

So, every Monday from now until New Years, I am going to post an easy idea for wrapping stuff with items everyone already have around the house. Not only will this help me clear out some junk, it will encourage me to resist future wrapping paper purchases. Wahoo!
*Note: The "holiday season" ends December 25 in my book. Lord helpeth the poor soul who stands between me and a bolt of candy stripe wrapping paper on December 26.
You like my cookie man? 'Cause he sure likes you!
Folding paper plates into basket shapes is an old trick used by county fairs and church BBQs the world over. This one is a little new because my plate features munchkin doodles (leftover from the Jive Turkey). You could certainly do this with some festive plates, or stuff it with something besides cookies wadded up in cellophane, but you get the idea :)

11 November 2011

Happy Weekend

Aunt Nancy came over last weekend and brought three of the most gorgeous kale plants! I wish you could see them in person, all purple and green and ruffled and amazing.

We also planted bulbs and raked some leaves--all the fun stuff you do in the garden before the snow sets in (which was yesterday). That means, this weekend is for yanking away all the dead stuff. Not what I call fun, but I know it will be worth it to see what pops up next spring!

Happy weekend :)

10 November 2011

As mentioned earlier, I set out to make a beautiful, traditional, autumnal style wreath.

It came out looking like something I won at a booth outside the Mexican Circus.

Not that I'm complaining.

In fact, I'll admit I have spent a lot of money trying to win stuff from booths outside the Mexican Circus.

This wreath just isn't doing anything for my seasonal case of turkey fever.

Guess I'll have to make up for it in Chocolate Turkey Cake.  

Oh, darn.

Just the same, this wreath was quick, easy and CHEAP --why not share?

Here we go!

  • Any Basic Wreath Form: $1 at Goodwill! Woot!
  • 200 Coffee filters: $1 at the Dollar store! Woot!
  • Stapler
  • Latex or Acrylic Paints
  • Hot Glue Gun
How do I dye coffee filters?
Easy Answer 1: Click here. Easy Answer 2: get a stack of 50 filters, run them under water, squish out water, add paint, squish out more water, add paint, squish out more water, and repeat til they look how you want them. Try it! People ask me for specific dye recipes but I have long given up --every coffee filter brand contains a different level of starch or something that effects the rate of absorption. You will just have to try yourself. It's very easy. This dog won't bite. I promise!

For this wreath, I made 35 flowers of varying size and color. It was over and done before I finished The Muppets Take Manhattan. Results!

Want some variety? Fold the filters in quarters and trim the edges. I also made a few purple accent roses just by twisting and pinching (will do a follow up tutorial if anyone is interested).

It's fun. A little funky. And very gobble gobble.

Happy Thanksgiving!

08 November 2011

Wreath Revisited

So, I made a fall wreath again this year. I was going for Autumnal Splendor but it came out more like Mexican Circus. I'll show it to you later. In the meantime, I'm giving the Mexican Circus wreath to Kiki and hanging last year's wreath on my front door (see above).

Sigh. You can't win them all.


07 November 2011

Do you have a lot of leftover kid’s art hanging around the house?

Because I sure do.

I don’t even have any kids and my place is littered with gobs of their paintings, drawings and doodles.

People just give it to me. Everywhere. They know I love it, and more importantly, they don’t have the heart to throw out their children’s art work. They would rather give it to me, their token hoarding friend.


With all the munchkin art on my mind and in my house, I decided to do a new version of the old classic Hand Turkey, but, instead of tracing my hand on a single plate and filling in the fingers with color, I decided to cut out lots of hands and cobble them together into one monster turkey masterpiece. The end result is a cross between my previous post Cher and Ruffled Chicken, and a Turkey Table Topper from Disney’s Family Fun Magazine.  The end result is seriously impressive, and even better -- the process to make it could not be easier!

Best part? Total cost on this: Zero Dollars.  That's right folks, you own all this stuff already. No kid's art laying around, use scraps from some other project.  Or food wrappers. Or cereal boxes. Or make some....

01 November 2011

Candy Striper

Note, this post is titled Candy Striper not Candy STRIPPER. That's a different blog folks, different blog. 

 If you didn’t notice, I like stripes. A lot. 

I’m very particular about what sort of stripe though –it’s almost like a mathematical formula…

Colored stripes of equal width with alternating white stripes = Good

Skinny stripes of varying width and color = Headache

Dull and neutral stripes paired with bright and vivid florals =  Amazeballs
It's like science.

Candy stripes, or as my father called them “barber shop quartet stripes” are always, always good. Some folks think they should be relegated to the holiday candy canes, but I enjoy a good peppermint stripe any time of the year, on anything I can get my hands on!

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