Keeping up with the Joneses (or whoever they are)

This morning, I opened the curtains to admire the view and was greeted by this unusual fellow on the Nameless (We’ll assume, for now, that their lack of neighborliness is due only to the chill in the air. I’m sure we’ll be fast friends come spring….) Neighbors’ front lawn: A challenge, plain as the nose on his (oddly misshapen) face. I gathered the troops and finessed them into their various items of cold-weather gear. Under the guidance of Thing One and Thing Two, the munchkins descended upon the snowy slope outside our front door and tackled the task at hand: reclaiming our snow-sculpting claim to fame. They left me with a sleeping baby (yes!) and a still-disastrous craft-room. I turned a deaf ear to the siren’s song of dirty dishes and a mountain of unwashed laundry, and made my way into my sanctuary. (See that scary-looking pile in the corner? That’s my fabric stash. I promise you, it self-propagates.) Despite the overwhelming amount of work to be done, there’s a happy little vibe in here. Itty-bitty corners of calm are emerging from the madness, and naturally, I’ll share. I went around whacking at things with a hammer (mostly nails, no children, I promise…) and that seems to have had a soothing effect. Meanwhile, the loin-fruit were busily building the coolest snowman on the block. Mission accomplished.

No more frozen fingers…

I drink my water ice cold. And I drink it from a stainless steel water bottle. Which adds up to trouble, when you live in Des Moines, and it’s January. I’ve been suffering for months with frostbitten fingers, and yesterday I had myself a little brainstorm. I made a dash for my felted sweater stash (What? You don’t have a felted sweater stash? You don’t know what you’re missing.) Thirty seconds later, My water bottle had a new sweater, and my frosty fingers were a thing of the past.

Swamped.

I am buried in boxes. Surrounded by stuff. Engulfed in ephemera. You get the picture? I’ve been a very good girl, and held off unpacking my craft stuff till it was all here. Well, now it’s here, and I’m officially overwhelmed. (I’ve also confirmed my ADD suspicions, in case any of you were wondering. Actually, you could establish that diagnosis just by looking at the way the boxes are packed, without so much as casting a glance at the poetry in motion that is me, putting stuff away.)

At this rate, I figure might be ready to make something by June.

Guest Blogger: Rachmy B. (age 7)


I drew some pirates on a boat. The Captain said, “Get ready to fire!” Before he could fire, the second-in-command said, “Stop it, you crewman! You’re not even a captain.” Then the second-in-command threw off the cannons. They were shooting at a sea serpent because it broke off the one of the crew-mates’ legs at the hip. That’s it.

Yup, that pretty much says it all. Hope your day has been uneventful and that all of your sea monsters are behaving themselves.

Things to Do:

Cover ugly milk crates. This is a house of many crates. They are muy ugly. Must. cover. crates.

Make bedskirts. Simply have no desire to look at hideous boxsprings for another moment. Ick.

Make more rice bags. My feet are always freezing, but if I pop a rice bag under the covers before I go to bed, it’ll keep my toes toasty till I fall asleep. We all use them…we all love them.

Set up studio. This is what it looks like at the moment: (Kind of forlorn, isn’t it? But fear not! I have prodigious plans!)

Make belly bands … avoid TMI moments.

Finish moving. Still.

Finish unpacking. Still.

Laundry. Dishes. Again.

Feed kids. Again. Yes, that’s snow we’re melting on the stove to make supper. Yes, I feel like Ma Flippin’ Ingalls. No, the water’s not fixed yet. Which brings us to the piece de resistance:
Fix busted pipes.

Division of Labor

This little chore chart was my first Midwestern craft project. And, like most of my undertakings, it was born of necessity. With six kiddos, it gets hard to keep track of whose jobs are whose. Naturally, I could have made a chart on the back of an envelope, stuck it on the fridge, and called it a day, but I chose instead to cut, paste, punch and drill my way to chore-ganization.

Step one: Spend a quarter on a bulletin board at thrift shop.
Step two: Spend 2 days digging through basement of rental house in search of boxes of craft stuff.
Step three: Give up, go to Michaels and spend 40% less than highway robbery on box of cool scrapbook paper.
Step four: Open box of ridiculously-expensive-even-with-a-coupon scrapbook paper, then locate “missing” boxes of craft supplies in “safe place.”
Step five: Inadvertently teach children varied and colorful assortment of swear words.
Step six: Spend three days sifting through forgotten goodies.
Step seven: Use scrapbook paper, paper punches, rubber stamps, punch out letters, etc, to create job board and hang tags.
Step eight: Mod podge board, then drive in many many nails to hang jobs on. (Take this opportunity to further expand expletive vocabulary of offspring.)
Step nine: Struggle valiantly to refrain from employing aforementioned vocabulary while assigning chores to unwilling loin-fruit.
Step ten: Admire, hang on wall, and promptly draft into use as key/camera hanging station.

Nothing like a Sunday…

except maybe a Saturday night!  Jess has been asking for  a cool shirt for our fifteenth anniversary (which was last week, but who’s counting?) and  last night I finally got around to the production phase.  I’d already printed out my text and bought the shirt (actually, I opted for a hooded zip-up sweatshirt.  If I’m going to go to the trouble of making something for the man, you can bet I’m going to maximize his opportunity to wear it..) so it was just a matter of cutting, ironing, painting, waiting,  peeling, and heat-setting to get the job done.  We’re all pretty pleased with the result, and the endorphin-high that came along with it fostered—of course— more crafting.  My mildewed, stained train case got a coat of apple-red paint, and the fabric for the boys’ chair finally made it into the light of day.  (Night, actually…)

Pictures coming soon…just like my new camera!