Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Christmas Miracle

I know I talk a lot about pre-Christmas miracles, meeting miracles, and wedding weekend miracles on this blog, but seriously, this is amazing.

I've been making a few infinity scarves for friends-- basically you sew a wide tube of fabric (knit, not woven), and kabam! you have an infinity scarf. You don't have to hem it or serge it or any of that business. Just sew it into a tube, loop it twice around your neck, and you're done. It looks like you just walked out of the Gap or American Apparel.

Recently I was at St. Vincent de Paul (my favorite thrift store) and I spotted a piece of blue stripey knit fabric that would be perfect for making these scarves. After scooping it up for the bargain price of $1.00, I took it home and dumped it in the Project Pile, where it sat for a couple of weeks until last night, when I realized that if any of my friends were going to receive infinity scarves for Christmas, I would need to actually make the scarves and put them in the mail. So I got out the fabric, and I was just about to get out my sewing machine when I noticed that the fabric was already sewn into a tube! No lie. The fabric I was going to sew into a tube was already freaking sewn into a tube. Please someone comment, "Totally tubular." Anyway, I grabbed my rotary cutter and sliced that long tube into four shorter tubes, making four scarves. They're in the mail now! If you get one... I'm sorry your present only cost 25 cents. I still love you.

The site of the miracle

Showing off one of the new scarves... with an angel on my shoulder.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pre-Christmas Family Field Trip

Last Thursday, my mom, Karl, and I drove down to Oak Park, Illinois to visit my brother, Elsworth, and his girlfriend, Lia. They have a super cute apartment. Here's their Christmas tree:

The ornaments are all beautiful and handmade, including ten guinea pigs, like this one.

Elsworth had a cookie exchange at work while we were there. One person brought rosettes and of course they were completely mashed by the time Elsworth got them home. Note to cookie bakers: Rosettes don't travel well.

Here's our mom, posing with some squash.

Lia and Libby like to play Wheel of Fortune on the ipad.

We got to tour Frank Lloyd Wright's home in Oak Park, and we took the train downtown to a Christmas market. Karl and I got to go to Macy's and see the big Christmas tree on the 7th floor, and we were lucky enough to visit my wonderful friend Mara and her sweet baby Simon. I couldn't get enough cuddles from Simon!

We also managed to stop at Ikea twice during the 49-hour adventure. Nothing says "Christmas" like Ikea.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pre-Christmas Miracle

I've been thinking for a while about re-vamping my weekday morning routine. After realizing that about 30 of the 45 minutes I need to get ready in the morning are spent boiling an egg (in my amazing egg cooker), packing my lunch, and making oatmeal on the stove, I thought I'd try to scale that back and maximize on sleep. Packing my lunch ahead of time is easy (the hard part is remembering to grab it from the fridge!). And when we recently got a new Crock-Pot, a mini Crock-Pot came with it (for cheese dip and that sort of thing). I just put my oats and water in at night, plug it in, and in the morning my oatmeal is done! And of course I can make the eggs ahead of time, but I needed a little push... which I found at a thrift shop for 26 cents over the weekend. It's a vintage refrigerator egg box (not the one pictured above; mine is actually olive colored and a teensy bit cooler than the one in the picture). On Sunday, I boiled five eggs and put them in the new box. They're ready and waiting for me every morning!

Can you believe I found that egg box just when I needed it? Now I can get up at 7:30, which is a full half-hour later than before. I'm in love. Maybe I'll start sleeping in my clothes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Overheard on the Bus

I got on the bus after work yesterday and sat down toward the back. I wasn't really paying attention. The bus wasn't crowded, and there was someone sitting a few rows behind me, at the very back of the bus. A couple of stops later, someone else got on and sat down by the person in the back. This was the conversation I overheard:

Person 1: This is the last day I'll be seeing you on the bus. I got a new job, and I'm moving to New York.

Person 2: Whereabouts?

Person 1: Manhattan. It's for a company I used to work for. They made me an offer I couldn't refuse. It's going to be amazing. I fly out on Thurdsay.

Person 2: Do you know where you're going to live?

Person 1: I got a great place, just five blocks from my new office.

(long pause)

Person 1: What are you thinking?

Person 2: I'm just thinking that I've always wanted to kiss you, and now I'll never have the chance.

Person 1: Oh, no, you need someone much taller, with better legs.

(short pause, while I assume Person 1 rolls up at least one pant leg)

Person 1: See? My legs are all pasty and skinny.

Person 2: No, your legs are perfect.

Honestly, it was all I could do not to turn around and watch the scene unfold. Among other things, I love the free entertainment available on most public buses. Unfortunately, I had to get off the bus right after the perfect legs comment, so I have no idea what happened. Best of luck to Person 1 at your new job in Manhattan!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Tree is Up!

We got our Christmas tree! Every year, we go to the tree and wreath sale at the UW-Madison Stock Pavilion. You drive right inside, pick out your tree, write a check to the forestry club, and you're on your way. So fun. I'm completely in love with our tree and the lovely light-up tinsel star at the top. Soon we'll have the ornaments on it, and our own little indoor woodland will be complete.

But let's get serious. I'm trying to decide on a tree skirt. You may remember our original mini-skirt from 2009. Since that time, we've gotten a new tree stand, so we needed a larger skirt. I made a blue and brown one last year, and that was the one I originally put on our tree this year:

But last night I was at a thrift store, and I snagged this hand-crocheted beauty in 100% acrylic for just 60 cents. That's right, 60 cents.

So now the dilemma is choosing which tree skirt to use. I like Bluey, but Acrylicy is so sweet and quaint. I know I don't need two tree skirts, but I'm afraid that if I re-donate Acrylicy, it won't get purchased and loved by anyone else. Can I really live with that kind of guilt? Christmas is so difficult. Please feel free to comment with your opinion, or just stay tuned and I'll let you know what we end up doing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Christmas Present!

Guess what? I got my first Christmas present of the year! My sweet friend Laura left it on our doorknob yesterday, and it was waiting when I got home from work. All wrapped up in woodland Christmas paper and everything! She's so thoughtful. And the card was signed "XOXOXO, Gossip Girl." My friends are the best.

Last week, my mom gave us an Avent calendar that is also perfectly woodland critter-themed. Plus it has glitter on it. What more could you ask for, really? It's precious. I can't wait to start opening the doors to see what's inside! Here's our little Hedgie, showing off the gift from Laura and the Advent calendar from my mom:

Advent Calendar Mayhem

I'm sure you've been wondering what I put inside our Advent calendar. Well, wonder no longer.

What we have here is a little assortment of goodies from Trader Joe's and World Market, plus a couple of other things I picked up here and there. The little Pinnochio is from our trip to Italy this spring.

"Help! I'm stuck in a stocking!"

Here's what he looks like at night.

Chocolates, lip balm, and more chocolates aren't my dream contents for the Advent calendar, but December 1st crept up on me and it was the best I could do. I have a secret plan for next year's calendar: I'm going to put 24 slips of paper in our nightstand. Then throughout the year, when we do something special together or have a really great day or something happens that we want to remember, I can write it down on one of the slips of paper. Secretly, of course. Then when December 1 comes, I can just roll up the slips of paper and put one in each stocking. Karl can open one up each day and read about some of our favorite memories from 2012. Hopefully we'll have more than 24 memorable days, but realistically, it will be an accomplishment for me to write down that many!