Monday, December 17, 2012

I get to.

I get to take my daughters to school. Today, it's Monday December 17th. I get to take them, my four-year-old and my eight-year-old, to our little elementary school up the street, but I don't want to. Not today.

I get to rush around as usual, making more toast and cutting Eggo waffles just right for dipping into syrup. I get to listen to fighting over who is touching who. I get to hear Lucy fret about pajama day today, as her class won enough points to have storytime and hot cocoa with her school principal. What if I'm the only one who remembered to wear pjs? she worried. Alice won't get dressed. She finally picks out a white cotton dress with red chili peppers on it and pink striped tights. She is too slow, so Daddy starts yelling. Not today, I say. Please no yelling.

I get to argue about what shoes to wear with Alice, who hates shoes. We search the house, the car, her room for her favorite black sneakers but cannot find them. It's approaching 9am. The school bell rings in ten minutes, signaling the day. She cries. I get frustrated.

We get out the door and Alice is tearful. Her shoes feel weird. There are rocks in them, she's certain. We hold hands. Lucy starts complaining that her tummy hurts and she just can't go. She's probably sick, she says. I get to assure her it's just nerves, or she's hungry for more breakfast. Once she eats at school and sees others in their pjs, she'll be fine. Alice wants me to stay at school with her. She's timid on Mondays. This Monday, so am I.

The bell rings. I watch Lucy skip away to her classmates, neatly lined up in their pajamas. Whew. I take Alice into her preschool room. She tells me her nose is chapped (it is) and that her flu shot from yesterday hurts her upper arm (it does). I help her pick out Christmas coloring pages with her teacher. We talk about what lunch she'll choose. The options are soft tacos or fish sandwiches and she likes neither. It's okay, I tell her. Just eat what you like best off your plate. I'll pick you up in time for dance class, I tell her. I get to kiss her warm cheek before I leave.

I stand outside the now quiet schoolyard. The gates are locked now, as always. The routine is the same, but we are not. My coffee gets cold as I stare too long into the snowy foothills and gray sky. My eyes are wet, as they have been for three days now. What is new is the pit in my stomach, the bile rising in my throat. I feel like I might puke. Even though I get to pick them up after school with hugs. I get to frost sugar cookies tonight with my girls. I get to be irritated about the mess the kitchen will become as a result. I get to.

Friday, December 14, 2012

ARTSY: Woodland Snow Globes

I told you I was really into Pinterest Christmas crafts this season. These, however, might be my most favorite ones.

The inspiration for these waterless snow globes came from this website. Aren't they the cutest? I love how they turned out as a little village set on my entry table. The needlepoint houses are thrift store finds, as well as the green elf and the wooden trees.

I found the small bristle trees at the Dollar Tree in a package of two for $1. I picked up a huge bag of fake snow at JoAnn's for under $5 and have tons of it left, as you can really only put a little snow in each jar. First, find jars of different heights around your house. Hot glue the trees to the inside of the lid. I used a paint brush and a little Mod Podge and dabbed the tree branches and sprinkled a little gold glitter on them.

Them, add a bit of snow to the jar. Screw the lid on and tip over. You may find that you've added too much snow and have to open it up and dump some out. I did.

You can hot glue the lids onto your snow globes, but I found tightening them worked just fine. You can also paint the lids, but I left mine the original silver (for the Ball jars) and red (for the large pickle jar). I think that adding other thrift store/dollar store Christmas figurines would be cute as well, like tiny ceramic houses or plastic snowmen. Maybe I'll give it a shot next year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

ARTSY: Bejeweled Christmas Tree

Who loves Christmas? THIS GIRL.
And the kitschier the better, AMIRIGHT? I thought so. Between September and January you can find my house covered in all sorts of gaudiness, from spider webs to glittered lights. And I'm in heaven. This year, in particular, I'm all about making the Christmas crafts, with no help from Pinterest, who taunts me like mad with all her cutsy ideas, including this one, as I adapted it to the beauty above.
All the supplies for this were already around my house and in about two hours time while the girls were are school I whipped this up. The frame Lucy and I spray painted pink years ago and has been sitting in the garage awaiting use. I have a huge selection of Bingo game cards I'd been saving for just the right project so I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the frame and Mod Podged the cards to it for the background.

The tree is made from fringey fabric leftover from a thrift store dress I cut up. I used my trusty hot glue gun to attach it to the carboard and glued on some vintage buttons from our collection as ornaments and some gold sequins for garland. The plastic reindeer was perfect as a tree topper and I added some pale blue beads to the trim board on the frame and voila! Holiday kitsch at its best.

Friday, June 15, 2012

ARTSY: Hello Home


I originally saw a version of this on Pinterest and was smitten. I love my 1950s ranch house and think that a home is a welcoming place. I've always said that grabbing the front door knob of a building is shaking the hand of an old soul.

So I commissioned this dark brown vinyl 'Hello.' from an old high school friend of mine, Kristi Day, who runs a darling and affordable vinyl and crafty design shop out of her home in Burley, Idaho. She quickly worked something up to my specifications, sent me a proof, I paid her via Paypal, and it arrived in my mailbox within the week. I love it. Hello, home. And thanks Kristi!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CRAFTY: Baubled Headbands

My girls love headbands. I love them, too, as they are such a cute, creative way to keep wispy hairs out of eyes and add a touch of easy fun to simple hairdos.

Alice and I were bored a few weeks ago and I had collected a bowl of broken vintage jewelry parts and old buttons and bright beads just awaiting a project. The girls had amassed quite the collection of headbands, many just plain or solid colors. Add a glue gun, and voila!

A whole new collection of quirky hair accessories! And who doesn't love a little bling in the spring, right?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

KIDDOS: American Girl

American Girl started in 1986 with a line of historical character dolls, all hailing from different races and nationalities. Each 'girl' was nine-years-old and lived in a different era of American history. They were 18" dolls that came with a storybook (and, later, a line of storybooks) telling stories about our country's history and that girl's place in it. The dolls were such a big hit (despite their outrageous price tag at over $100 per doll), that in 1995 the company expanded their doll collection and included accessories. Mattel bought the company in 1998.

I admit, I was a bit skeptical of these dolls for several reasons, one being their pricetag was so high, but after Lucy got Julie, a girl growing up in San Francisco in the 1970s with divorced hippie parents, I changed my mind. We have now read all seven books in Julie's collection and I like reading them with Lucy. The books share some of the history of the time period and got Lucy interested in what was happening then, so much so that we ended up researching more about political movements and women's rights. Also, the 'girls' often overcome some sort of adversity in a positive way, which is always a good lesson for our daughters to hear.
Alice recently got a Bitty Baby, American Girl's line of baby dolls for 3-6 year olds. While cute, they aren't really that interesting, as they don't come with a name or a specific story. I didn't purchase either of these dolls or their expensive accompanying accessories (Grandma did). The dolls are standard 18" dolls, though, so you can easily find less expensive clothing at thrift stores, craft fairs, and places like Target. We've made some fun 'bedrooms' for the dolls with stuff we already have, and I made a great haul of 1970s bellbottoms and praire-style dresses for Julie at an antique shop in Idaho Falls recently. The accompanying American Girl books and movies are all available at our local library and are pretty well done, in my opinion. It's been fun to explore American history with Lucy this way, through dolls and play, something she can relate to.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

ARTSY: Freak Alley

Freak Alley started around ten years ago in an alley in downtown Boise between 8th and 9th Streets and Bannock and Idaho Streets. Local graffiti artists got permission from business owners to decorate and tag the alley with their unique and funky brand of art. Recently, the Boise Mural Project got the right to paint larger murals as a sort of extension of Freak Alley on the sides of two buildings in an adjacent vacant lot. The girls loved having an afternoon downtown, eating our favorite breadsticks and soup from Zeppole Baking Company and checking out art. I admit, I like it, too. Make me feel like I live in a much bigger city than Boise.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

KIDDOS: Handmade Play Kitchen

For Christmas this year, I was super excited to make the girls a play kitchen out of a recycled piece of furniture. I'd seen some cute ones on Pinterest, made from old entertainment centers and night stands. In September, I found an used, unpainted little boy's tool table at the Idaho Youth Ranch for $13. I new it was perfect, and loved the pegboard backdrop, which would be perfect for hanging tiny pots and pans a la Julia Child. We hid the kitchen in my mom's shed.

We (okay, rather, my mom) painted it red, green and white using leftover house paint she had in the garage. I bought a used faucet at Second Chance, our local architectural salvage shop and my mom had an old mixing bowl we used for the sink. I used the black plastic wheels off of a toy car to make oven knobs and Eric picked up some pegboard hooks at the hardware store.

I hand-painted on the stove burners, and all the other supplies I took from around the house and the playroom. I collected all the girls play food from various locations and put it together in bins underneath the play kitchen. I hemmed a vintage kitchen curtain to fit on a tension rod under the sink to hide them. Vintage aprons, pot holders and a rug were picked up for super cheap at garage sales. I mounted an old phone and some shelving we had around the house on the wall to complete the ensemble. And that darling mosaiced mirror was a birthday gift to me from my talented artist-friend, Reham Aarti. Eric and I spent hours perfecting the little kitchen set-up on Christmas eve, and decided at the last minute to put the girls' table and chairs in the playroom to complete the dining atmosphere. It's provided hours of imagined play for every kid that's stepped foot in this house since Christmas. And the whole project cost around $25!