Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hello Holiday '09

Bad poetry about good things:
No presents this year, just lots of cheer.
I'll see my family, we'll have a beer.
When first we see snow, my eyes will tear.
The mountain is calling: come here, come here!

Crappy Christmas Crafting:
Today I made my first potholder out of fabric loops (thanks Amy M for bringing this project). I somehow missed out on this craft as a child. I think I'll give it to my Mom. :-D

~ Merry Christmas! ~

Although I'm officially "skipping Christmas" this year, I realized today that I've actually been missing Christmas entirely since elementary school.

My fondest Christmas memory is from Bellfork Elementary in Jacksonville, NC. For the Christmas of 1989, our kindergarten class made Santa Claus figures from red construction paper with cotten ball beards. They had long, accordian-folded dangly legs because he was meant to sit on the fireplace mantle and stream over.

I don't remember any of my presents, but I remember being very proud of my Santa.

We made them on the last day before Christmas break (it was still called that when I was a kid), and they were still too wet with Elmer's glue to take home on the bus. I wanted my Santa so badly that my Dad drove me to the school after he got off work to pick him up. Miss Brown, my kindergarten teacher was naturally very surprised to see us, but humored me, as a kindergarten teacher should. I breathlessly drug my Dad up and down the hallway of the school, showing off the sloppily colored Christmas trees and paper chain garlands my classmates and I had made. I was so excited to show him how hard we had worked on our decorations.

That's it, I don't remember anything else from that Christmas. What it was really about, from a five-year-old's perspective, was creating special things and sharing them with the people I love.

The feelings we chase but can't seem to catch in the holiday season: Peace, Love, Warmth, Closeness; these things have nothing to do with how many gifts we receive, or how many obligitory holiday drop-in visits we suffer though. We need to stop feeling like the holiday season is just another thing to check off the to-do list. We need to stop worrying that we'll ruin the holiday by not getting Junior an X-Box, or by forgetting the egg nog, or not making it to every holiday party.

Settle down, step back, and take a look at what we've done. We've taken a time meant for reflection, sharing, and appreciation, and made it into a competition where the best gift-buying, card-sending, tinsle-throwing warrior takes the top prize.

The holiday season should be about the people, and the people are not perfect, but that's why we love them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

Deck the halls with bags of money, fa la lala la, la la la...hold on a sec...did I rob a bank in my sleep again?! No, relax, this money is mine, and I saved it the old fashioned way.

Since this summer, I've been tricking myself into saving money by transferring small amounts into my savings account each month. That minimal effort, along with quitting fancy coffee, avoiding Target, eating out less...and oh yeah...skipping Christmas, has made me a mini windfall. We've still got a tree (and plenty of holiday cheer) but no extravagant gifts this year. Honestly, they will not be missed. We're only 8 days away from the holiday of the year and I've done zero running around collecting pricey reminders of my love for you all. I've sent some cards (purchased for 90% off at Spokane Discount last March), bought one $20 gift for a gift exchange, wrapped dog bones from the kitchen for the dogs, and sent Toys R Us gift cards to my little brother and sister (pets and 8-year-olds shouldn't be asked to skip Christmas).

Greg and I went shopping last weekend and bought small things that had been on our needs/wants lists for a while then we wrapped them in last years gift bags and boxes and stuck them under the tree. Of course we already know what's in them, but we do legitimately want what's inside. The part that makes this really fun is that our chihuahua, Spike, gets really upset when he sees people opening presents. He starts to cry softly, then he tries to come over and help open your gift, when he sees it's not for him, he barks and growls at your horrible trickery. And that's when we bring out the wrapped dog bones and watch both dogs go crazy ripping the paper off. I also like to hide treats in the pet stocking because Spike will stick his head inside and run around the house trying to reach them. Christmas joy is cruel sometimes.

So that's that. I am officially a Scrooge and loving every second.

The $30 pre-lit Wal-Mart tree that jumped into my car two years ago

Stockings! Guess which one is mine. Every year I tape cards to the back of the front door as we receive them like we always did when I lived with my Mom. It's a free seasonal decoration, and a reminder each time you leave the house that someone is thinking about you.

Spike checking for presents that we could be hiding from him

Spike and Lola "helping" to open presents

Spikes with his stocking

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Don't go there; it's uphill both ways.

Drenched in sweat and struggling to breath, I gripped the table edge and pulled with all my strength. We labored together, traversing vast spaces, porting our bounty, trusting our feet to guide us through the darkness.

This is what happens when your craft show booth is in the far back corner of the lunchroom, up a set of stairs, in an area with no lights, behind a booth that takes up two spaces with 8-foot-tall displays.

Crafting. Is. Intense.

Last week, I launched my resin jewelry website, Spike and Lola. I discovered resin this Summer in the stifling hot garage of a friend and was instantly hooked. Maybe it was the way she offered me popsicles in exchange for spray painting sprinkles...maybe it was the fumes...I try not to dwell. At any rate, I fell hard for epoxy and all the promises it held suspended in it's clear, chemical makeup.

So powerful was my zeal, that I signed up for my very first craft fair and spent the next few months measuring, mixing, pouring, sanding, and clear-coating in preparation for my debut.

...which brings me to the sweatiness.

My first show EVER was at East Valley High School this past weekend (December 5th and 6th). I over prepared and covered every detail, as is my custom. The only problem is that it was almost completely unnecessary. The crowds were small and they weren't buyin' what I was sellin'.

But in fact, they weren't buying what anyone was selling. Many of the vendors didn't bother to come back for day two after disappointing sales on Saturday, and the whole thing packed up early on Sunday. All told, I left with $160. Not bad for a weekend in which I would normally make nothing, but not quite in correlation with my wildest dreams.

I'm down but I'm not out. I love the way my stuff looks and I couldn't have been happier with my craft fair display. I'm sure I will rock another craft fair, but I'll be more careful about the venue so I reach the right people.

It's done. It's over. I have survived.

A view of a few bangle bracelets, necklaces, and magnets.

The booth. Note the lime green table skirt inspired by Jen's booth at the Ferris show.

Tiny Trees! Ity-bity resin trees with candy sprinkles or glow-in-dark glitter inside.

Skull and Crossbones Necklaces glowing under the blacklight