Friday, December 17, 2010

Just In Time For Christmas

I'm not sure if I've fully expressed my desire to be crafty.  I might have alluded to it in certain posts, but oh! how I would love to make things that are pretty with my own hands instead of buying them at Target.  When I attempt to create something, it usually turns out into a mildly dangerous disaster.  However, today I can safely say that I have made something that I am proud of, and that combines all of the things I am interested in save for coffee.

Last week, for my 35th birthday (holy cow, THIRTY FIVE?!?!?!), my sisters-in-law (in-laws? in-law? is there a plural?) gave me a printing kit. It came with an instructional handbook, a set of stencils, two sponges, and two tools that I'm still not sure what do with after careful study.  I was so excited to use this!  However, when my husband came home from work, and I showed him with glee what I got from his sisters, he kind of winced out, " you think you can do that?" 

If that wasn't a challenge, I don't know what is. 

So here's what I came up with.  I wanted to get my cousin, who is almost 13, a little something for Christmas when we see her family next week.  Since I used to be a middle school teacher, I tend to want to give books to people in my family who are in the tween years.  I picked Sharon Creech's Absolutely Normal Chaos.  I love just about anything by Sharon Creech, but I think this one is one of my favorites.  It could be that I read it outloud to two different classes and they found it so enthralling it was hard for me to do anything else other then read it to them.  Or it could be that one of my former students told me once that she'd never read anything that she connected with until she read this book.  Or it could just be because it's a darn good story.  At any rate, I picked it out for my cousin because I think it's a fine book, and I don't think you can go wrong with a Sharon Creech story.

I realize that's not the crafty part.  I'm getting to it. 

Recently on the Mother Reader blog, she wrote a delightful post on ways to wrap a book.  (Anyone still thinking about what to give as gifts, there are great ideas on this entry.)  I said to myself, "Callie?  Why don't you go ahead and make a purse to put Absolutely Normal Chaos in?  It'll be grand." 

So I did.  I took myself to Micheal's and used my 40% off coupon to get three prewashed canvas purses (I bought three because I knew I would make a mistake), and two colors of fabric paint. (The old Callie would've just looked for any old paint to use, but the new Callie read the instructions in the pamphlet.  They specifically said "fabric paint for fabric projects."  Who knew?)

I spread all my materials on our table and as I did, Hadley came up and sat down cautiously.  Even she was nervous for me.  She said, "Momma, I'm gonna just sit here and watch you and make sure you do it right."  Thanks for the vote of confidence, kid.  I should've reminded her that I was the one who birthed her 9lb 10oz butt without any help from her, thank you very much.

But you know what?  I made myself a little bag.  It turned out so good, I made two more.
But that wasn't enough.  I was on a roll!  I thought to myself, "Callie?  Why stop there?  Since Absolutely Normal Chaos is a journal of sorts, let's say we make Inga a journal to go with the book?"

So that's what I did.
I cut up several pieces of paper, drew some little designs, and then put a subject on each page.  One page asks Inga what her favorite songs are.  Another one prompts her to write about her favorite Christmas memories.  The best part was that Hadley and Harper saw what I was doing and wanted to make a page for Inga, too.  You can see their work in the above picture, and here they are working hard on their journal pages:

Since I gave Inga different topics to write about, I thought I'd have the girls answer some of the same questions.  I wrote down their answers on the journal sheets they made.  Hadley's favorite book?  Pete the Cat. "He's a riot!" she adds.  What does Hadley want to be when she grows up? "The leader on the sled." Harper's favorite book? "The blue book."  Don't ask me which book that is, because I don't know.  I do know that the child will not have anything to do with anything unless it's blue.  What does Harper want to be when she grows up? "Toys." And really, who doesn't?

Here's my little creation in its finished form:

I think it's time I try to learn to knit again.


  1. Those are adorable! I'm stuck inside with the kids this weekend because it is raining in LA (gasp) and wondering what the eff to do with them. Crafts! Perfect!

  2. What a cute idea! They turned out very nice.
    Now I know there's hope for me, since I am like you. . .I desire to be crafty, but nothing ever turns out like I have it envisioned in my head :)

  3. Yea - learn to knit!!!!! Merry Christmas!

  4. Wow!! That is absolutely fabulous!! Hi to your cousin from me, and I hope she likes the book.

  5. wait. is that the real sharon creech that just commented, or did you create that alias and comment on your own post pretending to be the author? tell the truth... :)
    i don't know what you're talking about. you're just about as crafty as they come--bookworms and scrapbooks and homemade cards... you could spend days in a nice paper store looking for the perfect pen. (me too!)

  6. When did you try to learn how to knit? I know we worked on crochet, but I don't remember knitting. I'll be waiting for my knitted gloves next Christmas. By then you should be well past scarves, right?

    And I agree with Alison, you may be one of the craftiest people I know, you're much too modest.

  7. They came out great. I try to be crafty but since I can't quite make it work, I pretend to be "minimalist" instead. LOL.
    PS. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  8. Fantastic! And oh, how I love that title, Absolutely Normal Chaos! (Adds that one to the reading list...) So glad the kids got involved, too, of their own accord.

    I'm so delighted you visited my blog so that I could discover yours!

    elizabethanne of elizabethannewrites

  9. This is a great gift! What did your cousin think? Here is a blog that has some fun book gift ideas: Gift Guide for Library and Book Lovers