Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cousinly Giving, Part Two

Here's Cousin Will, looking almost Sweeney Todd esque? I don't know but the coloring of the picture combined with his Dickenesque scarf has me thinking of a Tim Burton flick. He's demonstrating how to play the miniature guitar I made for him out of my fav forever gingerbread recipe.

Poor guy. He's always been the lone dude in a family full to the brim with girls. I decided it would be wrong to give him a girlie sock monkey and wrong for me to make him an OU logo (no way!) so I thought I'd make him something that he'd like, a guitar. If you don't know him, you should know this -- he's a big music guy. Plays all kinds of instruments and knows an intimidating truckload of info about musicians and the local music scene.

I think he liked it, as much as a twentysomething guy can like a Christmas ornament.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Look a Gift Necklace in the Face

Take a look kiddos, these are my three craft necklace Christmas presents. I noticed at my craft sale that the hottest necklaces were ones that were done in neutral colors, everyday colors, you know, your brown/grey/navy/black/white color families. Ones that work at the office as a subtle piece. And while I'm all about the boldest colors and the most outrageous shapes, I recognized that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (or the buyer) so I did a collection of five black, white and gold necklaces, each one with numbers as the theme for their center wooden coin. Both of these feature prints of bingo cards.

And finally, here's Cousin Meg's donkey necklace up close. Hee haw.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cousinly Giving, Part One

So someone (obviously me) was having some fun with the color toning on this picture... I was kinda going for a retro fade on the coloring of the picture, something like mid 1970s to match the beautiful Cousin Meg's shirt.

And what, pray tell, is that fabulous item she is holding or that lovely piece of jewelry that adorns her neck? Well, friends, those are homemade craft Christmas presents! My fam and I hosted my aunt, uncle and two cousins on Christmas Eve for a full out feast--Greenburg Turkey, flank steak skewers (prepared by me, never mind that the skewers caught fire), two sugarfree desserts and a rum cake for the sugar eaters--and a gift exchange. To cap off a perfect evening, there was snow! Right here in Dallas, Texas. And I tell you what, I had to see it to believe it. It seems every year we'd here about rumors of a White Christmas in Dallas, but every cotton-picking year we were scammed or cheated or just plain deceived by our weathermen as Christmas Day would roll around at a balmy 78 degrees or some other equally ridiculous temperature. But this year we got our White Christmas! Not that we're owed or anything, just grateful.

Of course I've very much digressed from the crafts at hand. So perhaps you've noted that I'm a little hot on "forever gingerbread," which looks like a regular gingerbread but you can keep it from year to year with no mold worries. It is made from a dough of apple sauce, cinnamon and white glue (yum!) and I used a few templates to make ornaments but I also broke out with some of my own drawings and designs, like, por ejemplo, this sock monkey gal. Making the dough is the most perfect Christmas craft activity because you can blast the carols and fill your house with no-calorie yet delicious smells. Sock gal is holding a gift and wearing a bow in her hair. I trolled google images of "sock monkey" to get the right look (keep in mind that long, long limbs are easy to snap off; she needed to be kinda bulky to have lasting power). I cut her out, baked her and coated her in different microglitter colors so she'd look just right.

And the necklace -- it's my Obamania necklace. Well, it's just three donkeys on a chain, but it's just write for my favorite Obamaniac, Cousin MegPeg. The gals just nuts about all things progressive politics and it seemed like just the right fit for her -- it's whimsical and completely silly but at the same time its colorful and fun and appropriate for lib parties. I don't really know if she actually attends liberal parties or if she's just a member of the liberal party, but either way, I hope she enjoys sporting her politics on a chain, given to her by, I dare say, her most conservative cousin.

(As a note, if you are lucky enough to tune in to Cool Kids Crafting with great frequency, you *might* be lucky enough to see a better picture of the donkey necklace oh, say, tomorrow.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's A Wrap (2009 Edition)

So this is another in the never-ending collection of holiday posts. Presenting, this year's homemade package wrap -- sewn bags! Here's the background. A few months ago my mother and I were in the clearance section of a fabric warehouse in the seedy, seedy Harry Hines fabric warehouse district or whatever you want to call that particularly unsavory sector of Dallas, and I saw this fabric on closeout special for $0.50 a yard. I bought six yards for -- no calculators needed -- $3 and planned to use it to wrap every small to medium sized Christmas gift. I did use it for every gift I gave this year with a couple of big box items as the exception. And I still have fabric left over. What really amazed me was how easy it was to sew them all. I didn't spend a lot of time ironing hems or pinning things, I pretty much just freehand sewed little pouches for every gift. I sealed them all with safety pins and then attached ribbons. Pretty simple, eh? My favorite part is the green factor... During the year, you can use the bags to store breakable Christmas ornaments and during the holidays, you can reuse them to give new gifts away. My dad has already decreed that from here on out, the ones I gave to him and my mom will only stay in the nuclear family so they can get maximum usage out of them. Considering that I didn't bother with pinning or ironing, I'm serious when I say I think I got a run for my money in terms of time. A couple of bags in, I'm pretty sure I was sewing cloth baggies as fast as I could wrap a paper package.

If you are in the mood to make your Christmas a little more green or sustainable or you would rather hoard wrapping paper for more fun uses than just as package covers, give this option a try. I'm not one who puts too much stock in carbon footprints (or carbon pawprints as far as my cat is concerned), but perhaps I was able to balance out live tree with the cloth wrap? The point for me was to do something that was unique and fun, to try out a new idea and to make something worth keeping.

Also, there's no coincidence vis a vis the Longhorn package topper (above) and today's date. One last plug... Texas Fight!

Finally, don't judge the sparkley red leopard print tree skirt. I bought that fabric to use for Beta/Theta toga party (feel free to judge on that) but I never got around to wearing it as a toga. I've dutifully kept the fabric for years and it fit perfectly as a makeshift tree skirt. So exotic and classy...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Get Your Horns Ready...

So a really special team is playing in the Rose Bowl tomorrow. It is, in fact, my favorite college team (Washington and Lee would technically be in first place there but you never see them on TV and, really, few people see them live in Lexington). The Texas Longhorns are going to beat the Alabama Elephants or whatever their Roll Tide symbol is beyond just a really big A.

To celebrate their awesomeness (and the extreme adorableness of QB Colt McCoy), I made each of my Longhorn relatives a forever gingerbread Longhorn for Christmas. I've shown you earlier how mine looked when finished. I thought I'd show how the collection looked on the baking sheet. So there you've got Cousins Meg, Laura and Mary with Uncle Trey and one for my mom. I guess I needed to make a couple more, since I didn't make one for Cousin Em or my Aunt Beth... Whoops.

And in the event that you thought I owned a cookie cutter, you're wrong. Each of those horns was hand cut with a sculptors knife from a printed out pattern of the logo. Hard work but someone's got to do it, right?

And below I'm going to let you in on a sad secret that would warm the heart of every dreaded Aggie, one horn did actually get sawed off. (Around Texas you'll see UT haters with logos on their cars that say "Saw 'em off" and have a picture of a hornless Longhorn.) I patched it back up and then added a little wire so that it would be stronger where it had been broken.* Good as new and no one ever needed to know about it... I covered it with glitter.

Hook 'em Horns! Go Texas!

* This sentence is meant to recall an Ernest Hemingway quote from A Farewell To Arms that was shared with me by my old journalism professor Ham Smith when I broke my legs:

"The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places."