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November 2008
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January 2009

It was a Super/Literary Christmas

We had what I have just decided I am calling a "super/literary Christmas".  My husband received multiple superhero movies on Bluray, and all four of us received multiple books.

Our new Bluray collection now includes:

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Batman - The Dark Knight
Hellboy II

My kids also received Dr Horrible on DVD from their uncle - which I believe counts as a superhero movie, even though the main character is a villain.  We watched it tonight - the bonus applications to the Evil League of Evil were awesome!  I think we liked The Reverend/Pastor Puppet the best.

Our family book collection also increased.  I won't be lacking for reading material for some time, as I'm also currently reading the third book in the Sign of Seven Trilogy, "The Pagan Stone", by Nora Roberts. For Christmas I got:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K Hamilton
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

Funny story - a friend of ours from college always sends us "book prizes" for Christmas and birthdays.  This year, as usual, she sent us a package of four books, one for each of us.  We didn't see any markings on them indicating which was for whom, so we just read the descriptions and divvy'd them out as seemed appropriate.  Then later I was paging through one of the books and noticed a little gift tag stuck in the pages with my son's name on it.  So we looked through each of the books and realized we had 'assigned' all but one of the four books incorrectly!  So I think we will actually end up reading each other's, since we thought another was 'ours' in the first place!  :) 

For instance, my husband received "Bloodsucking Fiends: a Love Story" by Christopher Moore, which I thought was for me.  It 'goes' beautifully with my avid reading of the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris (the basis of HBO's series, "True Blood".)  I've listened the the first book, "Dead Until Dark", as an mp3 audio book, and am now not-so-patiently waiting for the 2nd book, "Living Dead in Dallas", on CD on reserve from the library.  Now that I have new books, though, perhaps the waiting won't be quite so not-so-patient. :)


@AngiePedersen Twitter Roundup - Week of 12/14/08

getting used to wearing my first pair of glasses, just for working on the computer - my daughter said they look weird on my face. Nice! :)

just got back from some holiday errands and weigh-in - down .4lbs for a total of 9.8!

Two Free Hot Spot items with any purchase - Archiver's coupon

#randomfact My girlhood crushes were Shaun Cassidy & Erik Estrada.

Via @JoshHighland - It's Random Fact Friday again! Join in by posting a random fact about yourself followed by the tag #randomfact

Moogsmum used ScrapJazz tutorial to make gift bag from recycled newspaper

Make Last Minute Gift Bags tutorial on ScrapJazz.com - uses 2 12x12 sheets of paper

Twitter/FB only book giveaway - gave away 2 free copies of Joanna Campbell Slan's "Paper Scissors DEATH" scrapbook mystery - Drew random names from entries. Shipped out Sat.  Download free book excerpt

‘Star Trek’ Creator’s Widow Majel Barrett Passes Away - http://snipurl.com/8uris

Via @mihla Another holiday photo resource [BetterPhoto.com]: http://bit.ly/15V6B

Holiday Photography Tips from ScrapbooksETC.com

Via @CraftyChica - If you missed NaNoWriMo, maybe Tweet-A-Book is for you! 

This looks good - Ravioli and Roasted Chicken Soup from the WW Chick - Just 2 Pts!

34 Essential Tutorials To Get Started With Digital Photography on the PXLshots.com Blog

Neat idea for a set of building blocks from palomasnest on Etsy

Online flashcards - play hangman, crossword puzzles, matching, & word search games with your own facts: http://www.studystack.com/

Cell Phones for Soldiers turns old cell phones into prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas

Check out Hungry Girl's recipe for Thin-gerbread Men in today's Newsletter

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love." --Hamilton Wright Mabie

Fantastic Kid's Craft - Add Children's Art to Glass Ornaments - from AlphaMom.com - I'm totally doing this.

Via OnePrettyThing.com, a link to pretty printable/digital paper from LollyChops.com

From Curbly.com - How To Make a No-Sew Holiday Dog Bed

Make your own Photo Cuff Bracelets from Curbly.com

Enthusiasm is the best protection in any situation. Wholeheartedness is contagious. Give yourself, if you wish 2 get others. - David Seabury

@reneepearson is posting gift ideas for digital scrapbookers at http://reneepearson.typepad.com

Printable gift tag roundup from OnePrettyThing.com

cute candy cane wreaths: http://tinyurl.com/686gwr

too funny - via @DrRus - Today is Barbie & Barnie Backlash Day when Mom and Dad can tell the kids that Barbie and Barney don't exist!

have you clicked today? http://www.thebreastcancersite.com

eating a Weight Watchers choc chip cookie - wishing it was topped with a fudge brownie & ice cream. And maybe sprinkles. And a HoHo.

Via oneprettything.com, a link to How To Make a Shuttered Bulletin Board

Waiting for me for dinner tonight - Weight Watchers-friendly Crockpot Potato Chowder

trying to decipher my son's Magic card deck wish list - anyone for a Ravenous Rat for Christmas? How about a Throat Slitter?

pleased with my .6lb loss at yesterday's WW weigh-in - total: 10.2lb in 13 weeks. Quite respectable, esp. considering Thanksgiving.


@BookofMe Twitter Round-up - Week of 12/7/08

  • Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen. -- Robert Bresson

  • “No one can go back and make a brand new start. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” -- Unknown -- How have you "made a brand new ending" in the past? What new ending could you create for yourself now?

  • Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway. ~ Emory Austin -- What do you do to help remind you of your strength when you feel anything but strong?

  • "Peace comes not from the absence of conflict, but from the ability to cope with it." -- Unknown -- How do you find/create peace in the midst of conflict? Do you wish you were better at it?

  • "Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: It's good to be silly at the right moment." - Horace -- Describe when you were foolish, or "silly at the right moment".

  • “Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition.” -- Alexander Smith -- What aspects of yourself have you discovered in others? Do you appreciate that similarity, or cringe away from it?

  • No man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether irreclaimably bad. -- Thomas Carlyle

@AngiePedersen Twitter Roundup - Week of 12/7/08


Manic Christmas Crafting for Realists

As mentioned in my last post, I've been feeling really crafty this holiday season.  Just dying to make a little something for pretty much everyone.  And I've been pretty manic about it - while working on one project, my mind is already racing ahead to the next project (or often the one beyond that!)  It's been hard to reign myself in to stick to completing one project before moving on to the next one. 

MANIC: affected with, relating to, characterized by, or resulting from mania.

MANIA: Symptoms of mania include rapid speech, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep...euphoria, impulsiveness, grandiosity, and increased interest in goal-directed activities

Yep, that about describes my crafting behavior and focus over the past month!

If Christmas weren't right around the corner, not sticking to one project wouldn't bother me.  I have no real problem having two or three projects going at once, just for a little variety.  I do tend to limit it to two or three because I really value the feeling of accomplishment from finishing the projects.  UFO's ("Unfinished Objects") are distracting to me, just laying around undone.  (That is not at all to say I don't have them - I certainly do.  But I try to avoid the situation.)

But this season I've had to really make a point of being realistic.  Fortunately, my realism surfaced back in August, when I began working on a gift for my mom.  Then I worked on a couple of gifts for my dad.  So those were out of the way early.

But here it is the week before Christmas.  And I still have plenty of crafty gift ideas scurrying around my head.  And sure, it would be really nice to give homemade fudge to everyone - the bus driver, my hair stylist, the neighbors.  It would also be nice to give crochet coffee cozies to my daughter's science teacher, the janitor, and my son's debate coach.  And wouldn't be fabulous to hand-knit some tweedy chunky mittens in a full family-of-four set for that friend of ours from college?  Oooh, and a digi-scrapped memory card game for my niece!  Oh, oh! And a fused plastic bag grocery bag for maybe my brother (after all, he bequeathed me his entire 'collection' of plastic bags for my birthday in August!)

Unfortunately, all that isn't realistic for me. I clued into this when I started working on the family-of-four set of mittens.  The pattern *looked* easy enough, and I even conned sweet-talked a knitting friend into walking me through several rough spots in the pattern (rough for a mitten-newbie like myself, anyway).  If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen tweets mentioning how my project was faring, real-time.

want to knit/crochet chunky mitten set for a family - any super easy pattern links? Also, how do you avoid a hole when you 'M1' (make 1)? - 1:59 PM Nov 23rd

Heading out to knitting group - going to learn to Make1 for my mittens! :) - 5:58 PM Nov 24th

stitching up the thumb on my second mitten - decided on this quickie pattern: http://snipurl.com/6tgpj [susanbanderson.blogspot.com] - 2:50 PM Nov 25th

just realized the second mitten I started today? yeah, it's also a righty. Casting on for a lefty after I do some web content rewrites. - 9:48 PM Nov 25th

casting on for a LEFTY mitten this time! :) http://snipurl.com/6unl5  - 2:21 PM Nov 26th

giving up on the knit mittens - switched to a crochet pattern today. 50% chance it will work. ::grumble:: - 10:46 PM Nov 27th

giving up on family set of mittens entirely - going w/ local goodies tucked in crocheted reusable grocery bag instead. - 9:44 AM Dec 1st

I had to admit the mittens weren't going to work for me and just move on.  Today I realized I'm probably going to have to give up on the idea of a digital-scrapbooked Photo Memory card game for my niece.  Yes, it would be nice, and yes, I would enjoy working on it, and yes, it would be the most fabulous photo memory card game EVER MADE, but dude, Christmas is next week.  Is that *really* going to happen?  I'm cutting myself that slack, and just moving on.  Concentrating on things I can realistically get done and still have a nice holiday with my family.  Still make sure people know they mean something to me, and that they've added something to my life.  Still share a little something of myself with them.

Like with handmade, reusable fabric wrapping.  Totally do-able this week, right??

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah.  Being real-IS-tic.

If I had more time, the solution would be to turn to others to create for me - still handmade, just not by me.  I'm totally hitting Etsy hard next year.  I actually just ordered three fabric reusable gift bags - hope they get here in time!


Teacher Christmas Gifts

Got my daughter's teachers' gifts wrapped up tonight - she chose to give gifts to her main teacher, a reading teacher, a science teacher, and a Band teacher.  Ordinarily we just give a gift to main teachers, but this year I've been feeling very crafty, so everyone gets to enjoy.  :)

The main teacher is getting a pretty stockinette scarf that I posted about previously.

The reading teacher is getting a thermal knit washcloth and a bar of locally handmade soap.  By 'thermal knit', I mean a variation on the thermal pattern used in Knitty.com's Thermal sweater pattern.  The Knitty.com pattern is K2, P2 for two rows, then two rows knit, then repeat the four rows.  For this washcloth, I did K1, P1 for two rows, then two rows knit.  Just a smaller ribbing.

Soap&washcloth

The science teacher is getting a crochet coffee cozy - but since my daughter said he seems to drink only Mountain Dew, the cozy will be wrapped around a 20 oz bottle of Mountain Dew (still have to pick that up...AND take a picture of the cozy!).

The Band teacher is getting a canister of "Mexican fudge" (milk chocolate with cinnamon).  I'm pretty pleased with the presentation, and consider myself pretty clever for it.  ;)  The recipe is soooo simple - just two ingredients!

Lazy Woman's Fudge

*Flavors of baking chips and frosting depend on whatever flavor you're craving!

  • 1 (12 ounce) package flavored chips (i.e. chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch, etc)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can frosting
  1. Put baking chips and contents of can of frosting into a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Heat on high for 1 minute at a time, stirring in between to prevent scalding.
  3. Keep stirring and reheating until melted (it usually only takes my batches 1 min)
  4. Pour into a well greased 8x8 pan and put in the refrigerator until set.

Instead of an 8x8 pan, I poured the melted fudge into mini muffin tins lined with wrappers - instant portion control and no cutting!  Sooo much easier that way!

THEN to 'wrap' for the teacher, I took off the label from the frosting canister and washed it out.  Then wrapped pretty scrapbooking paper around it, and put the little frosting 'cups' back in the canister.  Nicely sealed container and nothing goes to the landfill. (Well, until she throws it away, but maybe she won't, since it's 'altered' and pretty. Could make a nice pen jar for her desk.)

Fudge-outside

Fudge-inside

What are you giving for teacher gifts this year?


@BookofMe Twitter Round-up - Week of 11/30/08

"Treasure this day and Treasure yourself, truly, neither will ever happen again." -- Ray Bradbury
   
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage." -- Lao Tzu
   
"Savor the moment. Search for a little joy, and you will find a great deal of it in unexpected places." --Unknown  
When and where have you found joy in an unexpected place?
   
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

What does it mean to "be yourself" - for you? What does that look like? How is it different from others?
   
"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into." - Dr. Wayne Dyer.
How do you recognize the abundance in your life?


@AngiePedersen Twitter Roundup - Week of 11/30/08

Following the 'Thrifty Under $50 DIY Challenge' on the @youcanmakethis Blog

for neighbor & co-worker gifts, I make this super-easy fudge   

Very clever - Creating Keepsakes mag is doing a "Worldwide Ornament Drop" - click link for details & download

Print 4 Christmas cookie recipes on one sheet of printer paper - then embellish! - Dapple Designs 

Digital Scrapbooking Magazine announced new online format

Root for your fav f'ball team - Click for Cans - Go PACK!

Cult of Personality - does this explain/describe scrapbooking celebs, ya think?

try this recipe for "pretzel kisses" for choc + pretzel goodness    

For a chuckle, check out http://whatnottocrochet.wordpress.com/

Via @lifehacker, Dealhack's 2008 list of holiday shipping deadlines

2 things added 2 my XMas list: Dbl Pt Needle Tubes & Dbl Pt Work in Progress tubes - http://snipurl.com/7a94h

wrappa*dappa*doo* Reusable Gift Wrap Tutorial

@photojojo tutorial on DIY Cardboard Hipster Frames - they BEG for papercrafting embellishing!   

just watched "Hancock" with the family - better than expected! We enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel

For dinner tonight - Mushroom Swiss Burgers Recipe from Simple & Delicious magazine   

@Hummie needs help creating digi-graphics for the St. Louis Digi-Gathering

SkinnyMommy says: Weight Watchers Momentum Launches Online Today

Enjoying the Christmas digi-freebies at Weeds and Wildflowers Design

Yellow expected as a bright spot for 2009, says Pantone   

5 Tips for Terrific Teacher Gifts at Parenthood.com   

Nice compilation of The ABC's of Kansas City from @cadykansas

heard at a WW meeting: if hunger is not the problem, eating is not the solution.

Upcycle: Turn an Oatmeal Box Into a Pretty Ribbon Holder on Curbly.com

FYI - did you know I'm tweeting Book of Me ideas @BookofMe? http://twitter.com/bookofme

OMG @drhorrible DVD available at Amazon as pre-order! Ships 12/19! W00t!    

Awesome funny printable gift tags (PDF) - http://angrychicken.typepad.com/gifttags.pdf

Neat "memory tray" idea - using a picture frame! Duh!
   
LOVE this idea of wrapping gifts in reusable cloth napkins!
   
try http://aimeesadventures.com for super family-friendly recipes with WW Pts info included
   
In the crockpot for dinner tonight - Creamy Chicken Italiano (WW-friendly! 4 Pts!)
   
National Retail Federation's 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey - kizerandbender.blogspot.com
   
How to Make a Paper Gift Card Box - use up that stash!  on curbly.com

Have you SEEN this YARRRN Tee at J!NX?? It is sooo on my Christmas list.


This is a Recession?

As I was out running errands and Christmas shopping today, I couldn't help but notice how the current economic situation is effecting local shoppers' buying decisions.

Recession1

Recession2

Recession3  

Everywhere I went the parking lots were PACKED.  People were definitely out en masse, spending plenty of money (and I contributed my fair share!)  Good to see that the local economy, at least, appears to be thriving here in Kansas City.