seems every corner i turned this past fall, someone was crafting beauty from recycled book pages. the book wreath, for instance. sublime.
i decided to get in on the fun, and purchased a hefty tome from the discard shelf at my local library. (sidenote: apparently mr library guy harbors a secret crush on me; i kept trying to pay a quarter for my hardcover, per the pricing on the sign, and he insisted the book was just twenty cents. so whaddayaknow, i scored a nickel. it's not a very big crush.)
my literary selection: DOUBLE EAGLE, published in 1979. from the flap copy: Double Eagle is the riveting, true account of the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean by men in a balloon.
i picked the book partly for the heft of the pages, and partly because i felt little remorse splitting its spine. i mean, a balloon crossing. who cares, right? except i started to read an extracted page and actually found it, well, riveting.
but let us move on from the magnitude of my nerdiness to better things. things with a point.
i turned this homely fellow:
into these guys:
and also these:
groovy, eh? and lest you think i am Brimming With Great Ideas, i assure you that i am actually just good at mimicking other people's ideas. so. gift bag tutorial here. purchase a (much more gorgeous than mine) bird mobile here. can't find the gal who used to craft hair flowers, but i originally saw them on etsy. (and nope, i am not selling them, i just placed them on a card for elle.)
go forth and craft something, but a word of advice: lock up your austen or rowling or rice (or whatever earns the pulitzer in your universe), because crafting with pages is addicting in the worst way. not even my tolkien is safe. (ok, well, probably tolkien. but little else. beware.)
perhaps my mum instituted the tradition, as a placation, having endured my moaning about the woes of a birthday bordering christmas for the billionth time. or perhaps it began on a whim, and my brothers and i enjoyed the enterprise so thoroughly it became an annual thing.
in any case, sometime during my childhood it became unwritten law that we construct gingerbread houses every year on my birthday (and i use the word 'gingerbread' very loosely, in most cases meaning 'honey maid graham crackers'). unwilling participants are advised to run and hide, because if you are spotted under my roof come december 21st, participation is compulsory. triple f, baby.**
my friend crystal, who knows me frighteningly well (well, i'm certain the knowledge is frightening for her; i'm good with it) suspected that with our scrimping and saving for the adoption, i might not purchase the makings for my birthday houses this year.
she appeared last week at my front door, laden with candies and frosting and grahams. i have the best sort of friends.
so monday evening, the littles and the hubby and i happily carried on the tradition, amidst hot chocolate and a rather pitiable christmas playlist.
it's fun (and telling) to observe our varying design styles; hubby took on traditional gingerbread architecture, zee had an over-the-top seussian approach, em went for speed, bee was all about juxtaposing right angles and curves, i aimed for a clean but cozy look, and elle's philosophy was 'eat as much candy as possible during the constructing, whatever's left goes on the house.'
our temporary housing development:
(makes you want to hire us for your next home addition, doesn't it?)
thanks, crystal, for making sure my day was incredibly sweet.
it's that time of year when visions of handmade gifts dance in my head, and i realize (as i do every december) that to pull this off i actually needed to start mid-july. (will somebody leave me a comment in july? reminding me to get crafting? the me-of-future-christmases thanks you.)
so my plan, at the moment, is to not sleep until december 26th. should that not pan out, i will be wrapping up my shopping at the corner VP, midnight, christmas eve. blue cherry slurpees for everyone.**
of course, i could adopt a sensible approach and buy handmade, which is that magical combination of giving handmade gifts while still keeping a toehold on the slippery slope that is my sanity, but somehow i never manage to cave to reason.
you, however, are wise and sane. and so i shall share with you a smattering of my favoritest finds on etsy, aka the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace.
**if my memory serves me correctly, one of my brothers actually bought us slurpees one year. which means i'd lose points for originality, but hopefully gain a few for preserving hallowed family traditions.
twelve is a sheaf of in-betweenness, skirting the fence between childhood and the teenage years, becoming.
i think about who you are today. voluble. happy. an edacious reader, gamer, dodgeball enthusiast. eager, but with a heart that bruises easily. principled.
i hope you will always look out for your brothers and sister. i hope you will stoke your tendency to be merciful, to champion the oppressed, to find pleasure in the littlest things. i hope you want God more than air.
it's a tenuous hold i have on you, as a mother of a nearly-teen. i want you to be young enough still to take my best habits, old enough to sift through what i hand you and cast aside the dross.
i hope you are an agent of God's healing and justice. and i hope he holds you so tight.
1. it's a poorly kept secret that i don't like coffee so much as i like creamer. well, ingenuity recently kicked in and i am now foregoing the coffee altogether and adding creamer to hot chocolate. coconut creme creamer, to be precise.
if i'm thrice my normal size the next time you see me, you will know why.
2. sometimes elle and i are not feeling the cleaning and working and schooling, and so we set the camera timer and photograph ourselves.
that, or build lincoln logs. equally fun.
3. last week was the bestest sort of week. i got to chat by the fireside with dear friends, and meet lovelyn (and clay and ellie!), and be with family, and hug old friends close again. i vote for more thanksgiving breaks.
4. these days i am a jewelry-stamping fiend. and i have not mashed my thumb with the hammer once.
5. sometimes i happen upon a perfectly rust-colored oak leaf that curls up just so and the only reasonable course of action is to sprint indoors, grab the camera, and jet back out to take its picture. i adore november.
6. except that it is december. oy vey.
7. i am entirely unprepared for Christmas, so if anyone would like to be my personal assistant, like, on a volunteer-basis, and oversee the General Gift-Making and Decorating so that i can build lincoln log forts and not bang my thumb and sip coconut-creme-creamered hot chocolate, that would be fantastic.
8. how is it possible that we are not at ten yet? well. i extend my most sincere apologies, but if i hope to operate at even 15% cognitive capacity tomorrow, i must hit the sack.