Okay, I've been putting things off blog-wise because I'm in a sulk about not having a way to post photos.
But enough is enough and even I know you can't put something off forever.
So, please bear in mind this post would be so much more interesting, nay, exciting even, if I were able to make use of visual aids. And forgive me, in advance, for boring you stupid.
First, the Christmas gift crafts are done! Oh yes they are! And I am experiencing much wailing and gnashing of teeth, on the inside, because I can't share photos of these. They turned out so well!
We made silhouettes of the kids for my in-laws. I think I got the idea here (and more on this link later). They are impossible to buy for because they have everything and look down their noses at everything. Oh yeah, and they do not like me and like to passive-aggressively vent those feelings by being at their absolute worst at Christmas. They're such a delight. And yet, I slaved over a homemade gift for them, one that I would actually rather keep for myself now that it's finished and is so gorgeous (don't you wish you could see it?). I like to give them gifts that use the theme of their grandchildren because a) they are the one good thing I have done and can get credit for and b) even they won't make any disparaging remarks about a gift that is largely comprised of images of them.
I took profile photos of the kids (using Redheaded Snippet's camera before it died), cut them out, traced them on good-quality black paper, mounted them on good-quality white paper, and put them in a fancy black double frame I got at 50% off (hello, Michael's). They look terrific. Absolutely spiffing.
We also made ornaments for everyone else we need a "token" gift for. The kids have lots of aunts and uncles, a few great-aunts, and two great-grandmothers so we usually have them make something (with a lot of help). Again, who can complain about a homemade gift from a child? And it's good for the kids and can be lots of fun if you time it right.
I got a recipe for Cinnamon Ornaments from Martha Stewart. You mix together heaps of cinnamon with a bit o' cloves, a bit o' nutmeg, some applesauce (yes, applesauce) and a smattering of good ol' fashioned Elmer's glue. Yes, that's right, glue. So don't eat the dough. Although I can safely inform you that Man-Cub was able to determine with absolute certainty that it will not hurt you if you do. He would be that kid in Kindergarten who eats the paste.
After kneading the dough until it resembles slightly sticky modeling clay, and discovering a latent but decided allergy to cinnamon (fun!) in the process, roll it out between two pieces of wax paper until it's about 1/3 inch thick. Did you know there is no measure of 1/3 on a ruler? Do you know how much that bothered me the entire time I was making these things? Anyway, then you cut the dough into whatever shapes float your boat. We happened to have a set of Christmas-themed cookie cutters so we used those. Then you let them dry for two days. Or, if you're like me and are impatient and/or running out of time to finish the project, you can stick them in a 200 degree oven until they're dried out, being sure to turn them over regularly so they don't warp or get nifty little grooves from the cooling rack on one side. Fortunately, I have a super-spiffy oven (I'm rubbing it in a little) so I just heated the oven to 200 degrees, turned the gas off and left the rack in there while I went about my business.
After the drying process was finished, we got out our little cheap paintbrushes and some acrylic paints and painted all 49 of the little suckers. Everyone helped and we all had fun! And I haven't even told you the best part! There is so much cinnamon in those things, they smelled up the entire house for days! And the ornaments themselves smell like cinnamon! Obviously I haven't tested this theory yet, but I've heard the smell lasts for years and can even be refreshed with a light sanding or application of cinnamon oil on the backs of the ornaments. Cool, huh?
So, I finished attaching raffia to them (after The Viking accommodatingly drilled little holes in all of them for me) and packing them in tissue paper and cardboard boxes last night so that project is also done. How I wish I could share photos! They turned out so cute and it's so much fun to see the different ways the kids decorated them! I might make another batch over the weekend, to leave hanging around the house unpainted for maximum aroma. I might even make a few to hang on my rear-view mirror or tuck under the seats in the car!
The other reason I am bemoaning the absence of a working camera is MY FAIRY DOOR ARRIVED! It came two days ago and I tried to get joyous pictures of it, but the battery died just as I was clicking away...wah. It is adorable and I love it and it even brought a smile to The Viking's face.
Linda over at Restyled Home (see? I told you we'd be revisiting this link) sent it along with a lovely card and a bonus silvery, glittery Eiffel tower ornament thrown in. Redheaded Snippet was especially taken with that and I have a feeling she might steal it when she gets the chance. And just to refresh your memory, here's another shot of it, before it made its trip south of the border.
I can happily say it looks just as lovely in my home as it does in this photo. The trip did not damage it in any way.
In other, numbingly boring, news, I have to take the kids out shopping this afternoon and I'm not looking forward to it. I really hate shopping. I did most of the Christmas shopping online this year and, trust me, that is the way to go if you can. No cranky people in long lines or fighting over parking spaces, no horrifying Christmas music that makes me want to break things, no wandering through overheated stores staggering under the weight of my wool coat or trying to keep track of my squirrelly seven-year-old. But this afternoon, that's what I get to immerse myself in. Man-Cub, who actually felt bad when he finished his daily counting of the presents and found himself to have more gifts than his sister, has asked me to take him out to get her something. This should be good. Normally, he acts like he hates her, but when he decides to get a gift, he's remarkably sentimental about it. Good thing I have a clean hankie in my purse.
Redheaded Snippet also has some shopping to do. She needs a gift for The Viking and, of course, wants to get little things for her BFFs. Which means I get to go out twice with two different children today. But I guess that's better than embarking on one marathon shopping expedition with both of them.
Oh yeah, and somewhere in all the last minute preparations I have to undertake (planning for our trip to NY tomorrow, practicing our duet for the Christmas Eve Service, finishing the tree, cleaning the house, wrapping the presents that have yet to arrive in the mail, planning and shopping for the feast), I have to figure out what we're going to eat on all the other days besides Christmas and go get the necessary supplies. I guess I'd better get to my menu planning and get some shoes on.
Once again, I apologize for the sad lack of photos. Maybe Santa will bring me some batteries for Christmas.