Friday, December 19, 2008

what's shakin' and makin'

Big ice storm last night, as most of you probably know. S's school was seemingly the only one in a 30-mile radius to have school. I couldn't believe it was not canceled. His poor teacher had to drive over from Bloomington. I was worried for her, but she apparently made it to school okay.

Our tree in the back lost several large limbs. I included the swingset in the picture for scale. That is a big mess of branches. I feel so bad for our tree... it is in poor shape. We have made efforts to take care of it. In the fall it received a fertalizing treatment, and was supposed to be trimmed. But some branches were touching the wires back there, and the tree company wouldn't touch it until the power company removed them. The power company told us the city had to do it, and the city said they would put us on a list with an indefinite wait. Yeah, so our poor tree is waiting to be properly cared for. Meanwhile the winds of summer storms and the ice of winter storms wreak their havok. I'm afraid we might lose this tree before long. I will be sad.

Here is our tree. It's hard to get a good picture because of the windows. We've got several kinds of garland going on. We have some of the greeting card garland that I made a few years ago (idea via Martha). I love how it looks. Great way to recycle cards and cute as can be.
I wanted to supplement with some strung popcorn. Man, it takes a lot of popcorn to make a very long string of garland. This one short strand was all I could manage during a whole viewing of Elf. Of course, it didn't help that a certain two year old did not understand the concept of one bowl for eating, one bowl for stringing.
The last type of garland is a strand I made out of packing peanuts. It looks nice and is a good way to repurpose that most annoying of packing materials. We also tried to build an igloo out of packing peanuts, but have paused construction for now because I can't figure out how to do the roof.
Here's the last project I wanted to show you. The picture isn't great, but the effect in person is pretty wonderful. These are strands of dental floss and round white stickers, found in the office supply section of any big-box store. There is a tutorial here, on CraftStylish. I seriously think these look so cool. They could not be easier, are perfect for doing while watching tv (big plus in my book), and can be left up all winter, even when Christmas gets put away.

As I've discussed here before, it's sometimes overwhelming for me to look at all the awesome ideas all over the internet, especially in the area of holiday crafts. I'm pretty proud of myself for sticking with just a few simple projects this year. Maybe when the boys are older I'll tackle something more elaborate. For now, stickers and dental floss feel about right.

One more thing. S is bored. A lot. He complains about it. A lot. And it drives us crazy. Here is something we are trying. I got this idea from my sister, though I put my own little twist on it. Meet our new Bored Jar. It's a pear. That doesn't mean anything. Here's how it works. There are pieces of paper in the jar. They have tasks or ideas on them. When S complains about being bored, he has to draw a suggestion from the jar and do what it says.

This system has been working well so far. He is exited to do the tasks, even wiping down walls and making his bed. The only problem we have encountered is when he rejects the ideas in the jar (strangely, he tends to dislike suggestions I thought would be fun, like, "Draw a picture of the silliest person in your family." I guess I need to come up with more jobs to put in the jar). I don't really want to turn it into a punishment thing (ie, do this suggested activity or else...). The consequence for rejecting two pieces of paper in a row is that the jar goes away, up onto a high shelf. It doesn't really work if he just sorts through the papers until he finds something he likes. That's the same as me verbally suggesting things for him to do, and him whining about how bored he is and how my ideas are even more boring. If he is in a certain mood, none of my suggestions will be appealing. That's where the jar comes in... it's sort of an impartial party, with whom there is to be no arguing. Hopefully it will continue to prove helpful. If not, at least I got a lovely objet d'art out of the deal.

Six days left, ya'll. Better get wrapping.


Anonymous said...

Hi there from Greece! We are three: Eva, Maria and Angie. It is snowy there lucky u!!! Contrary, it is sort of hot here! Here we suffer but it's not the weather to blame. A cap killed a 15yearold boy! And guess what: the government called it an "unfortunate event" can u even IMAGINE that? All schools have been taken over by the students and so have been most of the universities! Protests, marches, strickes are taking place everywhere in greece! And the government doesn't even give a damn! this is the worst of all!
Shops have been burnt up and others destroyed...Anyway... :-(

maryflorence said...

omg. I am totally wanting to go buy those white dots. I think I have dental floss. What a GREAT idea, Laura. Thanks for sharing. I love all your clever craft projects!! :)

Jay M. said...

Stringing packing peanuts. Absolutely brilliant.

I like the "I'm bored" Jar. I feel like I can relate to Simon here. My mom used to have a thousand and one of her five-minute-jobs, just in case.

Some of it still sticks. One of the jobs was to find things - knobs, drawer pulls, stool legs - that were loose. Then I would tighten each one til it was just right.

Might be an idea for Simon, as all it usually needs is one screwdriver and a couple twists.

The jar is a great idea though.

mandy said...

i loooove the strings of white stickers. they looked very pretty next to your tree. your decorations are gorgeous. we should get together to do simple stuff like that sometime.

Bonnie said...

Love the white dots. I will be copying that idea.

m'lynne said...

Hey darling. I know its been a while but I just wanted to pop in and see how you guys were doing. I can't believe how big the boys are now, they are so beautiful. I'm glad y'all are doing well. I'm hanging in there in Athens, and think about you guys alot. I also still use my cookbooks from christmas past.

Megan said...

Love the white dots idea too! Also will have to keep in mind the idea jar. We had a jar at our house growning up. I'll write about it later when I have a bit more time. Your tree looks great!