The Princess and Curdie

The Princess and Curdie

Imagine if you had the power to know a person’s true self just by gripping said person’s hand.
You couldn’t be deceived by someone’s appearance or status.
The hand of an unthinking brute might feel like an ox’s hoof.
A greedy grasping conniver’s touch would be that of a sharp vulture’s claw.
While touching pure evil and malice would be like holding the underbelly of a serpent.
The idea of this kind of power made a big impression on me as a child.
I first read George MacDonald’s “The Princess and Curdie” 35 years ago.
I’ve wanted to share this story with my boys for years.
But I waited til now because of writing style and vocabulary level.
Even so, I still needed to pause now and again to translate or explain some of the details.
Example:  “Charger” as in battle horse, not something you plug into the wall.
Admittedly, the story goes slowly in some places.
But there are ideas in it I wanted my kids to ponder.
A simple miner boy given a task that required faith, courage and integrity.
Petty selfishness masked as common sense.
Ill intent cloaked in power and prestige.
A hopeless few against many.
Goodness fooled and nearly foiled by true evil.
When I read this book as a child, I did so simply because I loved anything fairy tale like.
But the ideas kept randomly popping into mind as I grew up.
Perhaps it even changed my life trajectory a degree or two.
Wonder how or if it will influence my kids in turn?
Gift Boxes Made From Cereal Boxes

Gift Boxes Made From Cereal Boxes

 Look at this!
A cereal box destined for trash re-purposed to a gift box.
(We’re still traveling with no option for recycling).
Clever, huh?
And it only takes about 5 minutes to make.
Even the busiest folk can churn this one out while enjoying a cuppa something yummy….
For anyone wanting to skip the jibber jabber & go straight to folding one of these,
 Another sign that I’m a craft-aholic?
I always pack a few supplies with me everywhere we go.
Sometimes it’s my crochet caddy and yarn.
Occasionally hand stitching stuff.
This trip,
My sketch book and a pouch stuffed with pens, scissors, glue and tape.
You never know, right?
Some trips, the craft supplies sit untouched the entire time.
But this week, I was glad to have something to work with.
While we were lucky enough to enjoy a chunk of warm sunshine everyday.
High winds, cooler temperatures and afternoon rain showers meant plenty of indoor time too.
Vacation means a moratorium on the usual junk food and electronics restrictions.
So once the colder wet winds blew us indoors,
The guys were content to plug in for the evening…
And munch on sugary cereals and such – they claim it’s the “taste of vacation.”
Which worked out for me since I came across this tutorial I wanted to try:
Converting a cereal box into a small gift box.
To make the box,
The instructions called for a cereal box, a pair of scissors and a hot glue gun.
I’m not quite nutty enough to tote a glue gun on vacation.
But the Elmer’s glue I had on hand worked well enough.
I could have used binder clips to hold the cardboard together as the glue dried.
Fortunately, the hair pins in my toiletry kit were a good substitute.
I did not measure as I cut and folded.
It’s not that kind of project.
As you can see, my finished box is slightly crooked along that top edge.
Suppose you can always be more precise.
I’m happy with this.
Planning to make more of these when I get home.
This is the perfect size box to hold cookies.
Wrap a column of fresh baked cookies in some parchment paper.
Tuck into a cereal box turned gift box.
Secure box with red and white bakers twine.
Or maybe an elastic round as I have shown here.
Add a gift tag.
A cozy homemade gift to share with friends this holiday.
Chasing the Sun

Chasing the Sun

Enjoying our Thanksgiving tradition.
Just the four of us.
Splashing around in the waves.
Searching for sea glass.
Digging trenches and building sand cities.
 Sandy fingers on fries and burgers.
Everything tastes better by the beach.
Winds whipping ’round us.
Sea gulls hovering.
 Boys asked for just one sip of my pina colada.
My littler guy flashed me a cheeky grin and said just once, he’d like to try…
“A pina colada… and getting caught in the rain…”
Both kids broke out in song and did a little impromptu dance.
Forget the roasted turkey and all its fixings.
It’s deli turkey, Stove Top stuffing and canned cranberry sandwiches for us in home-tel.
And then back outside.
Chasing the sun.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Cubby Advent Calender

Cubby Advent Calender

I’ve always loved the idea of an Advent Calendar.
A string of good things that lasts almost a whole month long.
 Another part of that Christmas magic I’ll never outgrow.
I’ve “played” different versions of the Advent calendar over the years.
Shortly after I left home,
Momsy gifted me with a miniature Advent tree with 25 drawers.
Each drawer housed a tiny ornament to be hung each day.
That tree traveled with me from apartment to apartment for years.
My boys and I put together a list of activities.
We wanted to both celebrate the season and to help others make Christmas.
This year, we’re putting a new spin on our Advent Calendar games.
 This year,
We will take turns surprising each other during our Christmas countdown.
Said surprises might even include little gifts… 
You know the kids are happy about that.
I’m excited my boys requested a chance to to do something for me.
Sweet.  Sweet.  Sweet.
I was also psyched to set up our Pottery Barn Cubby Organizer to house all the surprises.
Started with a quick trip to a local Michael’s for supplies.
Came home with small paper sacks, miniature red clothespins and printed Christmas card stock.
…And a few other random supplies.
Confession time.
Ever since we moved to the suburbs,
I’ve been spending a rather embarrassing amount of time at the craft store.
Think the ladies there know me on sight… 
There are worse things, right?
 Chose a sheet of cards stock with numbers 1-25 printed out on it.
Cut the 25 circles out.
Punched a hole each.
Threaded a length of red yarn through each hole.
Decorated some with small gold buttons.
The plan is to add more shiny little tchotchkes each subsequent Christmas we pull these back out.
Knotted each piece of yarn.
 Opened up 25 little brown bags.
Double folded the tops down.
Clipped a number onto each bag.
25 numbered little bags.
Each tucked into it’s own cubby.
Waiting for us to decide who is in charge of which days.
And then each filled with a little something special.
Might be a silly poem.
Perhaps a small gift.
Candy, maybe?
Or a note declaring one of our traditional holiday activities.
 Anticipating the festivities to come!
Christmas Cardstock Cutouts in the Window

Christmas Cardstock Cutouts in the Window

Came across a picture of holiday cutouts a few weeks back.
I was charmed by the simple white shapes.
Houses.  Christmas trees.  And stars.
Forget the lights, wreaths or other costly decorations.
I wanted to cut out a village for my windows too!
Didn’t have an exact plan.
Wasn’t sure if I could handle all the detailed cuts.
But hey, that’s never stopped me before.
Rummaged through my craft supplies.
Rounded up a:
 Cutting mat.
Straight edge.
White card stock.
Made a few preliminary sketches.
Lightly marked out my houses.
Then started cutting.
 I was a little shaky with the first house.
But found a rhythm with the blade soon enough.
Caroled along with my Christmas music while I ever so carefully cut out window panes, doorways and holiday shapes.
Love, love, LOVE working in my studio.
Admittedly, carving out all those little window panes was a pain in the butt.
But I sure do love the effect.
I finished this window last night.
Got the stamp of approval from my neighbors this morning.
Happy face.
Because my interior trim is white,
I think the village looks better looking from inside out.
But I also like how the white really pops against the house exterior.
So now I’m wondering…
How far should I take this white-in-the-window theme?
Should I extend the village to the other front facing windows?
Add in snowflakes?
Bring in something more textural?
White pipe cleaners?  White pom-poms?
On that note,
It’s back to more crafting for me.
Happy, happy, super big happy face.