Most of you know when I visit your blog, it is sporadic and I try to catch up what I have missed. This is not because I do not feel like blogging/visiting or because I am goofing off.  It is because I am busy. Granted, much of it is self-imposed busy, but busy I am.

Last week I looked at my life since Thanksgiving, and there have been THREE days since then in which I did not have a specific deadline of something that HAD to be done on a day. Now I do not have a “real job,” so my deadlines are not usually reports or presentations; they can be anything. (For my church treasurer job, I do have reports and presentations due at least monthly, however.) It may be a Friday, and those days always mean a ton of food has to be made because I cook for Friday and Saturday on Fridays.  My point is that the things I have to get done may not seem like deadline material, but for me there is always a reason something has to be done by a specific day.

So I thought I would show you some of what I have been doing for the past three months. (It is MARCH? Christmas is just around the corner!)

It started with Chic’s birthday. Since it was the Christmas season, she requested poinsettia cupcakes for school.

There are 13 children in Chic's classroom, but her teacher refuses to do cupcakes before school is out. (What's wrong with lunch?) This irritates me because when Chic gets cupcakes for a birthday, there is never one for her sister. I made sure every sibling of every classmate had a cupcake, too. (I wanted to leave out the teacher, but I was polite.)

Remember my Elf Escapades? Here are a few things I made for that.

Clockwise from top left: Napkin rings, box to hold napkin rings, "Merry" bag for the 12th night, tree bag. I made all the things shown. I loved it, but it does put a dent into one's time.

Clockwise from top left: 1) Napkin rings. 2) Box for napkin rings. 3) "Merry" gift bag for the last night. 4) Evergreen tree gift bag.

This was the best Elf Victim yet! On the 9th or 10th night, I was met at the door by this.

Sorry for the lousy picture, but I didn't want to get caught! This was the 12th night of Elf Delivery, and the front door and garage door of this house were OPEN! I took Chic with me for the experience, but it didn't help with the stealth. On the door are all the notes I left with gifts (the notes appeared on the 9th night), and there was a gift for me, too. I have never been so wonderfully welcomed!

Next is the Christmas ornaments and boxes. Since 1995 I have made a Christmas ornament yearly. It started as a gift to the infant daughters of very close friends and has grown to a few other girls (some now in high school) like my daughters and niece and some other special friends/family (aunts, etc.).

This year I made 36 "icicles" and boxes to hold them all.

For the staff Christmas party at school, there was an ornament exchange. This is the box I made, and inside was one of my annual ornaments, left over from about 3 years back.

This box was very last-minute, but I just loved how it turned out.

This is the holiday treat we give E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. They are called pizzelles and are Italian, waffle-like cookies made in a special iron.

I can't remember how many of these we made, but I know it was over 1000. I made the first 1/3 of them, then Prince Charming did the rest. (Bless him!)

Don’t forget the school treats. I made about 30 of the ones on the left for Chic’s classmates/friends plus the kids in my class at church. (She painted the sticks.) Chicklet’s class treats were on the right. I only had to make about 10 of those.

This is one of my favorite things–a gift for my nephew. When we visited Missouri in November I learned that he (who is Chic’s age, eight) is really into seeds. I was walking around my yard one day and noticed so many seeds. I started to gather them for him, then I thought I would just make that his Christmas gift. So I made seed packets (with pictures if I had them–stamped or drawn if I did not) for all of them and instructions for growing.

I never realized how many seeds I had in my own yard!

Next is the annual gift. Last year I made “winter” banners as holiday gifts for close friends/family. This year I did “spring.” (Can you guess what it will be next year?) I made 17 of these. Each one takes 2-1/2 – 3 hours. Call me an idiot!

Another rotten picture; I was pressed for time. But the good (?) news is that I have an extra of these. If you would like to be in a drawing for it, e-mail me at louisestamps at aol dot com to let me know. You have until Monday, March 8, to e-mail me.

Let’s move to Valentine’s  Day! (We left shortly after Christmas to drop off Chic in Tennessee. I was home one day before a business trip, then 1-1/2 weeks before visiting Chic. January was a blur.) These are the boxes I assembled for my Valentine’s for all the students in my art classes.

I made up about 55 of these boxes.

These are the cookies that went in the boxes above. VERY. BAD. to have these things in my house! Very bad!

I have no idea how many cookies I made, but it was about 8 or 9 batches. (I did double/triple batches in the mixer so I cannot remember.)

These are boxes I made for special people such as my friend in TN who is taking care of Chic and some special people at church. I made them from flat, chipboard hearts.

I made 8 of these boxes.

Something had to go in these boxes, so I made homemade truffles. It was a first for me. Slightly time-consuming, but really no more so than anything else I do.

The dark ones are Oreo truffles and the light ones are Italian truffles.

As I was making the heart boxes above, I kept thinking of other people for whom I would like to make some. The problem was that I only had chipboard hearts to make eight. But I had regular chipboard, so I die-cut square scallops to make four more boxes.

The left one was for someone VERY into brown, so it does not look much like Valentine's Day.

There were also quite a number of Valentine treats for classmates of which I forgot to take pictures.

The below items are also for special people for Valentine’s Day. They are super fuzzy socks wound to resemble ice cream. I made “cones” for them and packaged them. I also put chocolate oil on them. One recipient still has not opened hers because she thinks it is so cute. I made 18 of the bigger ones for adults and 6 of the smaller ones for children.

Clockwise from top left: 1) All of the socks put into their "cones." 2) The finished packages. 3) Notice the finished packages have "sprinkles on the cones. I made them by punching out holes. 4) This is some of the paper left over after the punching.

Being so industrious means that eventually the holidays will slow down and I can move on to other things. The next two are “name frames” I made for girls I visited a year ago. I took pictures of their rooms and just now got around to making the 8″ x 10″ art for them.

Clearly Kendra's mom is good at decorating!

Kayla is Kendra's older sister who had just redecorated her own room. (The decorating thing must be genetic.)

Just last weekend Chicklet was invited to a birthday party. She could not go because CHIC IS HOME FOR SPRING BREAK THIS WEEK!!!!!!! But I made a container quickly to take on Friday and filled it with craft items. I thought it turned out well.

This is a large canister that used to hold SlimFast. I love the size of these so I collect them to decorate at such times.

This week I am not doing anything of the sort because CHIC IS HOME FOR SPRING BREAK!!!! We have had several other activities already and have more on the agenda.

If you comment, be honest with me. Tell me if you love this or hate it. Tell me if you think I am insane. If you knew me in real life, would all of the above make you love me or love to hate me? (Your answers do not matter that much because I do these things because I love to do them, but I am interested in perceptions. I have all viewpoints in my “real life” acquaintances.)

Next projects? Easter!

Advertisements

Note: All the pictures in the post go with the second part of the post.

“On the first day of Christmas an Elf gave to me…..

“OK, this technically is not the first day of Christmas, but this Elf has no idea if you are going to be around for 12 days starting on the actual first day of Christmas.

“You have been selected by an Elf for a corny, yet hopefully fun, 12 days of Christmas.  This is not intended to match the song (where am I going to get 12 Lords a’ Leaping?), or even loosely match it.  It will be possibly holiday related stuff based on the whim of this Elf.

“SO…..

“On the first day of Christmas an Elf gave to me……

“One flaming candle (you have to make it flame for obvious reasons).”

The above is the first note in this Elf’s “Twelve Days of Christmas” series. The Elf is beginning her 4th year of this mischief, and she is already having a splendid time.

I know a lot of people do this, but I think more should get into it. Each time I have done it, all but once I have somehow seen a little of how fun it was for the recipients, and I am sure it is WAY more fun for me! I usually pick someone I know only barely know so they would never suspect it is me.

What kinds of things do I use? For me,  usually things useful around the holidays. Tonight will be “Two Packs of Gift Tags.” There will also be “Five Pounds of  Sugar,” “Ten Pounds of Flour” and “Twelve Rolls of Toilet Paper.”  For the boring gifts, I try to add something fun (like for 11 eggs, I fill the empty space with an ornament) or have nice packaging for it that they can re-use. Some of the things are just fun like “Four Christmas Candies” and “Seven Packs of Hot Chocolate.” Some change each year based on things I find that I like. (Christmas Crackers, Place Card Holders, Napkin Rings, etc.)

Although this is a mostly Christian neighborhood, I really do not think non-Christians would be offended by this. Am I wrong? (I do not make this a religious thing by any means anyway.) My other questions to you are: 1) Have you ever done this? 2) If you have, what kinds of things have you done for different days? (Or if you haven’t, what are some things you can think of that would be good ideas for the different days.)

My other Elvish holiday practice just began this year. I have planned to do it for two years prior, but was very sick both years and just did not manage to get it done.

Here is the letter that goes with the basket shown in the pictures in this post:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SPREAD THE CHEER BASKET

Just a little holiday hello to make you smile.

Please spread this to another neighbor very soon. Here’s what you do:

-Take a holiday sticker and stick it to your doorbell. This means you have received the basket and no one else will give it to you again.
-Keep what you want from the basket. Please don’t hesitate to keep all of it if you like the things and can use them!
-Refill the basket with a few holiday items. Make it all new, or put back some things that came in the basket that you can’t use. (I wanted to include something homemade in this, but since you don’t know who gave it to you, I thought you might be uncertain about that. Remember that when passing it on.)
Please don’t forget to put this paper back in the basket so the next person knows what to do!
Please don’t forget to put the stickers back in the basket as well!
-Leave it on a neighbor’s doorstep—preferably at a time when they won’t see you!

If everyone is speedy about this, there can be a LOT of people in this neighborhood that have had the little basket of cheer. Keep it going through Christmas!  (Maybe the last person to get it will start it over for next year!)

If you do not want to/cannot participate, please go ahead and put the sticker on your doorbell so you won’t get it again, and just pass the basket as is to another neighbor.

Have a Happy Holiday Season!

Love,
A Neighbor!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I know this is not unique to this Elf, either. My other questions for this are: 1) Have you done this or received such a thing? 2) What other fun Elvish things do you do for the holidays?

If some of you lived closer, you can bet I would be sneaking to your house right before I go to bed!

Note: I am only telling you this because I blog anonymously and most of you live so far away that you cannot tell on me. For those few of you who know me in real life, I am sure I can trust you to keep my secret.

Wow! It has been such a long time since I have had a regular post that was not SkyWatch or My World.  I love doing those posts, but I am itching to write something. Unfortunately today is not the day for I have far too many things to do to write, but there is a need in me to get SOMETHING up here, so I am putting up random things I have been thinking about, have noticed or are just about me lately.

This is not my tree. I never got a good picture of my tree. This one belongs to Jenn at thursdaydrive.com.

This is not my tree. I never got a good picture of my tree. This one belongs to Jenn at thursdaydrive.com. (After her daughter and mine put all the silver balls in one place.)

1.  I am ashamed to say that last night while my daughters attended a birthday party, Prince  Charming and I finally took down our Christmas tree, the girls’ tree and the few other decorations we had out for this year.  You learned here that my holiday season was a little crazed. The aftermath has not been much better except that there was no school (no drop-off/pick-up time “wasted” and no art classes to suck up an entire day plus preparation and clean-up) and no business stamping so I actually made a little headway, though things have not slowed down in the least.

2. I mentioned in another post that I joined Facebook. I really do not have time for this any more than anything else I do, but I really do not spend that much time there.  (But I will admit enough that I probably should not have joined it because I have NO time for it.) For the most part I have really enjoyed it. I was amazed at all the people from my past (On Facebook it is the  real life “me,” but apparently I have “paranoid” privacy settings according to someone who wanted to find me.) who are on it and how fun it is catching up with a lot of them.  I am required to say, however, that some people are exactly as uninteresting and juvenile and self-serving as they were in high school.  (For the very few of you from my real life who are reading this, I promise you I would  not have said this at all if it were you or anyone I know you are close to.  Also, there are only about two, in my opinion, in this category.) One would think 20-25 years would be a cause for personal growth, but apparently not always.

3.  It is amazing what can be accomplished in 4 minutes when getting ready for church. (I put this on my Facebook update.  It was meant to be funny, and I thought two people there, who also read my blog, would “get it,” but they did not say anything.  Apparently I am not THAT funny!)

4. I think I could be a snowbird. A week ago I was in Orlando where the high temperatures for the six days I was there neared 80 almost every day. I used to think I was fine with winter, but now I think I could be quite content in a place like that January – March.

Taken while driving through a neighborhood in Orlando.

Taken while driving through a neighborhood in Orlando.

2009-01-07airplanereadinglight5. Traveling makes me remember how so many people are irritating. I was  honestly surprised at the general rudeness at the airport of other travelers both to myself and others. And why do people have to get on an airplane and want to talk and laugh loud enough for the entire plane to hear them? An airplane is not a comedy club, and if it were, the passengers are not the performers.

6. This trip also reminded my why Southwest Airlines is my favorite.  Both flights I took were early. Their employees are friendly and happy (which must indicate something good with their employer since some travelers are rude and dealing with that all day and still being happy and friendly is an amazing thing in my opinion), and the flight attendants usually let their personalities show in some way. This time we were on the tarmac waiting for a gate because we were early, and a flight attendant sang to us songs about the airline. Also, they have a new boarding system since I last flew with them, and it is even better than before. It means that passengers can remain seated in the gate area until they announce the flight. It is wonderful.  I. LOVE. SOUTHWEST. AIRLINES!!!!! (Last Spring and Summer I flew twice on two other airlines and one was downright horrible and the other one barely acceptable after being being accustomed to Southwest.)

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge (I think it's worth it)

7. While in Orlando I visited my best friend from my senior year in high school and freshman year of college and remembered why she was in the first place and why we have kept in touch all these years. She is the definition of genuineness and kindness and is a huge inspiration to me.

8. While sitting in the Orlando airport I was reminded why I am glad I do not watch the news. Airport CNN was on and some anchorman was “reporting” political news in such an opinionated manner that I wanted to shoot the screen. (Thank goodness I had my laptop and tuned him out by trying to catch up on blog reading.) Our family does not watch TV… EVER. It is not a moral decision or anything other than about time and convenience. But not exposed to it for so long (We have watched almost none since moving to Albuquerque more than 6 years ago. I was recovering from surgery when Hurricane Katrina hit and tried to watch that a little, but even the reporting from The Weather Channel got on my nerves, so I stopped.) makes one see how ludicrous it can be, and I know I could not start watching it again. The “reporting,” by the way, had to do with two opposing political icons, and the anchorman was antagonistic to both, and cocky to boot. Did. not. like. it.

9.  This week has returned to “normal” with a vengeance. Not only do I teach art this week (I did last week, too, and was reminded why I do not really love doing that), but I have three stamping events. Plus I am a little lot behind on other things due to being gone and all. It will be interesting to see what I feel like at the end of the week. Thank goodness for my end-of-week activity.

bare mimosa tree at my daughter's school

bare mimosa tree at my daughter's school

10. Over the holidays (and on my trip) I was reminded that I have some really wonderful friends with whom I do not spend enough time.  I saw all these friends, even if briefly, over the holidays, and it was one of the most heart-warming things I can imagine. There is a post spinning around in my mind about it, so hopefully I will get back to somewhat regular posting this week… hopefully.

Finally, thanks to all of you who keep coming here and reading no matter how little or how infrequently I post and when it takes me a while to catch up at your place. I truly appreciate your visits and kind words!