Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ode to 2014

Isn't 'Ode to 2014' a great title for a 'look back blog' on the new years eve of 2015? 
I thought so. 

Then I looked up 'ode' (didn't want to appear dumb).
Did you know ode's are usually meant to rhyme?
I didn't.
I found that funny. And scary. And almost enough to make me change my blog title. But it's such a good one, I decided I just had to give this a try! 

 I apologize if this goes badly... :)

(ugh, what rhymes with that?! This was a bad idea!)
You brought us days of snow and evenings of popcorn and puzzles,
T'was a cozy time for twelve people, 18,000 cats and two dogs to nuzzle! 

 So February.
You had much snow to carry.
I typed away, hoping to someday see my words in print.
Unfortunately, the snow continued to come and the words didn't...

March, you were still quite cold and still quite snowy,
"come snowboarding!" the other kids said, "it'll fix that writers block in a hurry!"
So I fell down the hills, like Jack's sister Jill, but it was so fun I did it again and again
and totally forgot about lifting my pen.

April was eight puppies, so cute and playful!
Their piddles flooded our living room, but we couldn't stay mad, no matter how we tried.
 For their cute little faces distracted us from the wintery weather outside.
(Oh, and if puppies don't make you smitten, there was also a kitten...)

The sun finally remembered us around about May.
Everyone was so happy to get outside and play!
Ponies ridden and gardens tilled,
May, you brought volleyball, which made us thrilled!
(Yay! Why couldn't more months have such easy-to-rhyme names?)

 June was a month for watching gardens bloom.
Waiting for the strawberries to redden fully on their vines (at least that's always the plan)
and working out in the garden just to get a sexy summer tan. 

July, you may have been warm, but Lake Superior was still too cold,
So for jumping into rivers and puddles, we decided we weren't too old. 

August, your sunsets were by far the best,
Surrounded by music we plucked for the Porkies Music Fest.
 Lots of long beach walks and lazy bonfires on the shore,
You were the month I wanted most to bottle up and store!
(shore, store? Nah, that doesn't really work... let's just pretend this is one of those creatively bad odes.) 

September... You were a month to remember (I'm not sure why, but that sure ryhmes good, don't it?)
The porkies beckoned, with it's cool weather and beautiful changing color,
So we went, trudging through lots of mushroom hunts led by our mother.  
(I'll happily take a ribbing for that one!)

October, did you know that nothing rhymes with your name but sober?
We donned our jackets and did our end of the year chores,
But all the while feeling delusional about the cooling weather outdoors.
Donna, who was no longer such a little tyke,
Actually learned how to ride her two wheeler bike!

November. Now being more recent, you're easier to remember.
With your freezing temperature and abundant flurries,
You brought winter weather a whole calender's page early.
Since you stole December's weather, 
I don't think we got a long very well together.
You also brought me to an older age, AND put my car in the ditch, which I'm sure left me some grey.
I'm not trying to be mean, just saying, I think you can do better in 2015...

December, my friend, we got a long so much better than we have in the past,
You were so very nice and relaxed.
I wish every month could have your ease,
with all your carols and beautifully lit Christmas trees.
You brought us Christmas and this new year perfectly on time,
And now you conclude this ode, with my lame attempts to ryhme.

Hey, as I finish this, I suddenly realize why I stink at songwriting!

Ah well, something to work on in 2015. ;)

...No really, I'm going to go add that to my list.

Happy New Year Everybody! :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Handmade Christmas 2014


Wait… how do you do this again?

Oh yeah, start with some sort of catchy intro, type thing…

So, um, hey readers! Long time no chat! 
 Ugh, I'm out of practice! :P

I’m not here to make apologies about that, though. I’m here to be my classy, witty, glamorous self! ;)
...Actually, that’s not true either (well, everything but the witty part, hehe!).

I’m here to share with you the best Christmas ever! And naturally, that’s whichever Christmas was latest. In this case, the wonderful Christmas 2014.

In previous years, our handmade Christmases have been rather chaotic affairs, mostly taking place on Christmas Eve due to our handmade toy shop being so busy during the Christmas season. However, this year, we weren't busy quite so close to Christmas and the handmade part went very smoothly. In fact, the handmade aspect to our Christmas was exceptionally enjoyable this year, methought.

Mom and Lizzy largely outdid themselves on the treat table this year. So many varieties! Mom remarked that there seem to be quite a bit of leftover cookies this year, to which Andrew replied, "we're trying!" haha, and we are!

 Our handmade gift opening, as usual, was such an exciting celebratory affair!

Can you tell what I got? I couldn't.
I think I was still palming it and trying to figure out what it was in this picture...

There were probably a lot of little girls getting Frozen dolls for Christmas this year, and while Donna was one of them, I tend to think her handmade dolls were cuter than the ones the stores offer!

Okay, so without further teasing, I'll show you all the handmade gifts that we unwrapped... 

Donna got Elsa and Anna Frozen dolls from her big sisters. Annie made the dolls, hand painted the faces, and spent two days brushing yarn out and making their wigs. I sewed their dresses.

Johnny got a three foot long Toothless dragon stuffed animal from the How to Train Your Dragon movies (of which he's a massive fan) as well as the original book series to the movies. I made him using a wonderful free pattern I found online here.

Lizzy got a wooden art easel that expands up to six feet tall and is largely adjustable in every direction. Andrew made it from his own design. She was very happy!

Mike's gift probably had the most girl hours in it, mostly from Theresa. It's a football field quilt that seem to expand in size and detail as it went along, until it was super nice and accidentally out-shining the rest of our gifts. Oops!

In return, Mike made Theresa two large produce gathering baskets. The produce can be washed in the basket's wide mesh before even coming in the house. Mike laminated maple together to make the bent handles. These are as pretty as they are practical!

Steve got a light up sign for his bedroom door, with his youtube logo painted on by Lizzy. The light alerts this noisy family to be quiet when Steve is recording tutorials for his channel.

Stephen made Annie a beautiful jewelery box with a rounded lid, magnet closer and multi-colored wood types. It was complete with several lovely pieces of jewelry.

Turns out my gift was a new bookshelf, with a rounded curvature that means you don't need to use bookends to hold up the books! It's pieced with different colored wood mixed in, and has little compartments underneath. I'm way beyond happy with it. It's beautiful, unique, practical, and exactly what I didn't know I wanted!

In return, I sewed up Andrew some insulated curtains to warm up and brighten his music studio room. 

 Mom got some comfy crocheted slippers from Annie, complete with jute soles and rustic buttons. Just what she wanted! :)

And a produce bowl from Andrew, which is said to keep produce fresher longer with it's air flow-y design.

 I thoroughly enjoyed making Dad a big minions couch pillow. He has a thing for minions, particularly this scene, but then, who doesn't? But it may have been this Christmas short that set him off. :D

 And Johnny made Dad this beautiful wooden version of the computer game, Pong--his own design and creation! He was very excited to gift it and we were all quite proud of our little brother. :)

Finally, the boys had a big family gift: a new chess set! Mom had been asking for one for some time. It's far bigger and beautifuler than any expectation, and we were all surprised that Steven and Andrew had time to spare on extra family gifts. We're so spoiled! :D

 The rest of our Christmas was spent relaxing in snowy landscapes with critters. For Liz, it was horses and for me, a quiet walk by the river with the dogs.

The next day the Porkies finally opened!!! Whoop whoop! 
 Let the snowboarding begin!!!

The timing was perfect after our busy season, and now we've been spending every day this week tumbling down those snow covered hills, more or less gracefully. (Some of us have style, others: bruises. Stylish bruises. Since I can barely walk, I guess I fall in the latter category... probably headfirst, but I'll work that out with style! ;)

Finally, here's our 2014 Christmas picture:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!