Mother’s Day Cards

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This week in children’s crafts, I brought watercolors, paper, glue and whatever flowers I could scavenge on my way to the twin’s house. Pretty much any time of the year you can find flowers in Northern California, but the wildflowers are out now and I felt much better picking those.

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This craft succeeded because it had the essential elements: something for mom (who we all love), glue, and real live flowers scattered all over the table.

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I set out watercolors and some glue in a paint pot. The children enjoyed mixing watercolors into the glue, and using the flowers as paintbrushes.

 

 

 

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Here’s the one I made for my own momma. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Jibble Bowl 2013 – Snack Holiday!

I wouldn’t say the Jibbles household is that big into sports (we had to Google what teams were playing) but we are into parties that are largely focused on party foods.  I call these Snack Holidays.  I haven’t been to a Super Bowl party in a long time, but this year we’re participating a local business we like.  It’s a good excuse to bring out my favorite Southern delicacy, Ro-tel Cheese Dip.

We always called it Ro-tel, or Rotel in Mississippi, even if you don’t use that particular brand of chilies (perish the thought!). Just like all sodas were Coke (even Pepsi).  It’s a simple treat: get a block of Velveeta cheese* and a small can of Ro-tel chilies.  Depending on how thick you want the dip, either drain or retain the chili water.  I was a picky child, so I drained the chilies and blended them a little to get rid of chunks.  Cut the cheese into small pieces** and put it in the microwave with the chilies. Heat on high for 5-7 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Now, folks from the old days would say to put a splash of milk in to thin the dip, but the strange chemistry of Velveeta has changed sometime in the last decade and the addition of natural foods makes it curdle somewhat.  If this fact stops you dead in your tracks, you may not be from Mississippi.

But try some of the dip if it’s brought to your party– it’s the polite thing to do!

Once you’ve got a uniformly melted, delicious dip, keep it melty in a crockpot and eat it with your favorite chips.  Our family preferred Lay’s potato chips, non-Ruffled, but some may find dipping out hot, thick cheese is hard with those thin chips***.  It is a delicate dance.  But you can eat them with burly Frito Scoops or tortilla chips, also.  Just keep your pinky up and people will know you’re still classy.

Some people put ground beef in their dip.  Please don’t do that– vegetarians want to eat horridly unhealthy things, too.

I used to prefer one dining hall at the University of Arkansas over another solely based on the fact that one cafeteria used nacho cheese in their dip while the other used Velveeta.  You’ve just got to draw the line somewhere.

*Definition is debatable.

**My family always used dental floss, but avoid if you’ve got the mint flavor.

***Extra “I don’t care who’s watching” point for tipping the leftover chip crumbs into your dip and eating it with a spoon.


Happy (Early) St. Patrick’s Day!

I am not Irish, but I do like groups of friendly people riding bikes and dressed predominantly in green.  I’m participating in an Irish-themed ride with San Jose Bike Party, and wanted to do a little something for my bike.  I got a handlebar bag yesterday, and there was a convenient clear pocket on the front.  I went for a snake instead of the usual shamrock and leprechauns.  I wanted to dress up as a huge snake and have Justin chase me with a stick (as St. Patrick) but we figured in a group of 1,000+ cyclists, that could be trouble.

I’ve always thought of the story of St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland as THE legend, but I found out that “post-glacial Ireland” didn’t have any snakes.  Maybe it was large worms?

            

For this craft, I used three sheets of pressed felt, a felting pad and a needle. So simple!  You could also use glue if you feel so inclined.  I did the lettering free-hand (I am usually very bad at lettering).  Wish me luck tonight!  I have never been around this many bikes and it will be raining!

Bonus!  San Jose is a sister city to Dublin, Ireland, and the “Lord High Mayor” Andrew Montague visited last weekend.  He is a cycling enthusiast and went on a ride with citizens on Sunday morning.  Justin and I got our picture with him.  Get a load of that chain of office!


“Look Ma, no glue!”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everybody!  I am dying to get back home to my workshop and make stuff till I fall over.  I’ve been gone almost three weeks on our trip to the Midwest/South, and have only visited craft stores four times.  That’s good, right?

Since starting a job where I get to make stuff, I soon realized I’d go into withdrawals without something to do with my idle hands.  I tend to turn into a terrible TV-watching, M&M-munching dolt when I visit my parent’s house, so I figured I’d kill a few birds with one (felt) stone and buy a few supplies.  My mom has been impressed with my felt flowers (from Holidash) in the past, so I got a brush and a 3-needle felting pin to take home with me.  My holidays will never be the same– she loved it!  We’ve made a pact to craft together via Skype.

She was so excited. "Look, no glue!"

She took to the clip method from Infarrantly Creative really well– within ten minutes she’d put together a wonderful flower, then a stem in just a few more!  I’m not sure why I’m surprised– that’s the gene pool I come from.  Her’s is way better than mine!

My wonderful, crafty Ma.

I still ate a lot of M&Ms, though.


Merry Christmizzle

Photo by Laura Brown

My sister’s boyfriend, who works for a liquor distributor, brought home a stack of Snoop Dogg for Landy Cognac posters. Waste not want not! The jokes about “California Santa Claus” have not stopped. My sister definitely wins for best wrapping this year [insert pun here].

Though it has nothing to do with crafts, everyone likes a good animal video, so here is my mother’s poor little Cairn terrier struggling to keep her dignity after outfitted with some kind of dog-Juicy Couture outfit. We weren’t sure if her inability to walk was from the dog boots or the embarrassment.


Gobble, Fold, Gobble, Fold

A turkey say on a backyard fence
and he sang a sad, sad tune.
“Thanksgiving is coming,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
and I know I’ll be eaten soon.
Gobble, gobble, gobble,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
how I’d like to run away!
Gobble, gobble, gobble,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
how I hate Thanksgiving Day!”

My mom used to sing this to us around Thanksgiving, and somehow I  didn’t make the connection to the forlorn turkey, resigned to its fate, and the slices of meat that the holiday seemed built around.  And sadly, I never even liked turkey that much.

I went into craft overload last week, got a little burned out, so I turned to origami to cleanse my pallette.  I couldn’t help but learn how to make an origami turkey!  There are so many ways to make these, from different shapes of paper in differing levels of difficulty, but I went with easy and simple.  That way I can make 20 of them to dominate the dinner table!

I have a job interview today to be a private arts and crafts tutor.  No, I am not joking.  My task is to engage the child in some Thankgiving-themed crafts, so origami turkeys are my first hurdle.  I found a very simple tutorial on Youtube, while not incredibly sophistacted, lends itself to fast duplication.  Why one turkey when you can have 15?

Pulling out the head and tail is not an exact science, so you can make more variation with this turkey.  I also suggest scribbles or drawing a design on the blank side of the paper so it adds a little detail on the finished product.  It’s a simple enough turkey, so you can also embellish it with paper or real feathers, marker, glitter (glam turkeys?) or whatever you have around.

At a loss for turkey-crafts, my friend Heidi suggested “toilet paper roll turkeys”.   I just so happened to be collected (hoarding) paper tubes, and played a little jazz:

Make a v-shaped cut from the top of the tube to make the head, two more v-cuts on each side to make the wings, then several down cuts from the back to make feathers.  Bend them as you wish, and color/paint all over! There were lots of other tutorials for this sort of thing online, but I really liked how plain and easy this one was.

Other crafts I will utilize in my “interview” today, drawn from the best and brightest on the internet:

Candy Cane Felt Garlands

Paperwheel name tags

“Lil Felt Pumpkins”

Paper garlands – We can also go outside and find pretty leaves, make rubbings of them with crayon and attach the cut-outs onto our garland, or just use the leaves themselves (they’ll last a few days I’d bet).

Wish me luck, and have a great Thanksgiving!

 


Halloween! In 2011!

It’s the Halloween of the future! I decided to go as a unicorn, because I really didn’t feel like dressing up like an entire cake or entire whale this year, and who knows what I would have been? An entire city? An entire iceberg? Unicorn horns were splendidly easy to make, and I’ll devote a tutorial to them later. My husband also was a unicorn, so we made a cute and horny pair.

New friend! Loves Hyperbole and a Half. We have bonded over shared internet fancies, and I made her a hat to complete her “CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!!!” costume. Here we are, looking awesome:

Coupla broads in San Jose

I realized later that the wonderful creator of HAAH, Allie Brosh, actually did a comic about a unicorn, so I could have hung on my friend’s coattails.

The greatest love of all is easy to achieve.

Being in a new place for my favorite holiday was great.  I’d met enough awesome people to go to a karaoke bar and make a fool of myself, in costume.  I didn’t have to top last year’s costume, which I’ll admit made the whole thing much more fun.