runners? hi!


Such a fun night tonight! I got to go to Deb’s house for a craft night and meet the women from her running group. I was impressed by two things:

One, those girls were so warm and friendly to me, though only one had met me before (and hadn’t seen me in eight years or so) and though I am a complete and utter non-runner. Just a lovely group of women!

Two – and this will surprise no one – Deb is a crafting wizard. We made so many cute things! There were crafts stations for sewing a Christmas bunting and for making holiday signs, magnets, candles, and three kinds of Christmas trees. My favorites were the distressed-wood signs (mine says “Joy to the world”) and these adorable curled-paper Christmas trees. I spent ages getting mine just how I wanted it… and actually achieved that outlandish goal! Martha Stewart Deb had gone above and beyond the call of duty, planning the crafts, getting all the supplies prepped, and teaching all of us how to do each one.

All around, it was an excellent night out. Once again, I am promising you photos, but I swear I will get some and put them up. These things were just too cute to miss. (Edited to add: Here’s a photo from Deb! The little trees and the “Joy to the World” sign are mine. Love them!)


Thanks a million, Deb! (As my Hudson Taylor boys said on Facebook tonight, Go raibh míle maith agaibh!) xo

Getting the craft room ready for the new year!

(Argh.  I missed posting this on 12/31 by 10 minutes, due to photo issues.  Oh, well.)

Whew!  I have been hard at work all day (well, not all day, since I didn’t get up until after noon) redoing the playroom-turned-craft room.  When I got in there this afternoon, it was a complete disaster.  I didn’t get a photo until after the three of us had cleared and cleaned away most of the scrap paper, trash, and other junk.  At that point, we had this:

Since I’ve been reading Peter Walsh’s It’s All Too Much, we had a family powwow in the craft room, with each of us stating what we liked, what we hated, and what we wished for in the room.  That done, I knew we needed a cutting area; space for sewing stuff; a place for scrapbook paper and supplies; separate workspaces; and oh-so-much storage, some hidden, some not.

I got to work.  When the room had been converted from a guest room to a playroom many years ago, I removed the closet doors and made a curtain out of a colorful shower curtain from IKEA.  I stuck a white desk we had into the closet – it fit perfectly – and that became the cutting area.  My sewing machine and sewing supplies are on shelves behind the curtain, along with some boxes of individual scrapbook projects.

The big, heavy monster of an oak credenza that was under the window switched places with some white laminate storage units.  Some plastic towers were put into service for a) cutting tools and punches (the white one by the closet, above); b) scrapbook supplies in current use (the white one shown below); and c) surplus scrapbook supplies for the future (the black one). I pulled out some more of that shower curtain fabric and covered a bulletin board to balance out the plastic supply towers.

My old desk from college was set up for Q,  and David and I put together a cute bookshelf that was Q’s favorite at IKEA.  I’ve never hung a shelf so heavy – it has drawers with runners and everything – but I secured it in the studs, so I think we are good to go.  It was just about the same length as my old desk.  (Yes, the desk is pushed right up against the bookcase, but it has a swing-leg and a folding top, so I can get to my extra pages and page protectors that are stored behind it whenever I need them.)  I still have to hang a rail with cute buckets and hooks over the desk and clear away a bunch of stuff before I show the entire view, but I think we made great progress today!

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! for all the help I got from my lovely family today, and for the fact that all the furniture in the craft room fit – tightly, but it fit!
  • I’m lighter! This is a project that has been a long time in the making.  It feels so good to actually be getting it done.  This is such an odd room – it’s basically like a triangle with one end cut off – that it was hard to make everything fit.

Christmas Countdown #7b = How to make duct tape Christmas trees

Hello, again!  We are back to show you the step-by-step method of making Quinland’s fabulous duct tape Christmas trees. First, you need to have a cone the size and shape you would like the tree.  Q originally wanted to use a styrofoam cone, but when he found out how much they cost at Michael’s he decided to use a paper cone instead.  This cone is just cardstock rolled into a cone shape and taped together.

Each segment of the tree is made out of a small piece of duct tape.  (Edited to add: “Tell them that Duck Tape is the best kind of duct tape.  Not because we are doing an ad for them.  Just because it is.” –Quinland)  Rip off a piece that is just slightly longer than it is wide.

Next, flip the tape over, and fold one corner in until it is about 1/8th of an inch from the edge of the tape.  Press down firmly.

Then fold the other corner up until its edge is even with the other edge.  Press down firmly.

You now have a pointy shape with a sticky section at the top (where Q is holding it).  This sticky section will be used to attach the piece to the cone (by pressing down firmly, of course.)

The first row of pieces should hang down below the edge of the cone.  As you make more pieces, you will attach them corner to corner along the bottom of the cone.  As you can see, this is not an exact science.  (Nor, apparently, is my picture-taking.  Ack.)

Once you have a row of gold pieces that are corner-to-corner, you will add another set of gold pieces on top of them – at the same level – that will fill in the empty spaces.

Now your first (gold) row is done!  You are about to start on row #2, the silver row.  Start by making some silver pieces as shown above.  Then attach them as you did the gold pieces: first do a row that is corner-to-corner, and then add pieces on top to fill in the gaps.  Quinland really does not have any special trick or rule for where you start the rows, so just start them wherever you wish!

Repeat these steps until you reach the top of the cone.  As you get closer to the top, you will need fewer and fewer pieces.  (This seems obvious, I know, but I got a little too gung-ho on piece making and ended up with far more than I needed.)  For the very, very top, Q just used a small piece of unfolded duct tape and smoothed it over the tip of the cone.

You can make these trees in a variety of colors and sizes!  Have fun!


Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! for getting the chance to visit with Zumu and Zufu (my mom and stepdad) who arrived today for Christmas!
  • I’m lighter! I finished up some framing projects tonight which had been on the back burner for weeks.  Good job, me!