Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Home for the Holidays - Where is my Long underware?!?!?

Last Thursday, we struck out for Southern Illinois to have a quick weekend visit with my family. I rarely get home for the holidays and took advantage of having a long weekend, to go home.

We started watching the weather on Wednesday night. I was watching the path of the winter storm that was working its way toward my destination. Unfair. We kicked around not going, but I don't know when I am going to get more time to go, so we lit out on faith we would get there.

It is a 11 hour drive to my folks house. When I go with James it turns into 14. He likes to stop a lot. This trip, took 12. I was proud of him. We drove straight thru, trying to stay ahead of the storm. I kept getting updates from my dad as we drove. We hit some freezing drizzle not to far across the Illinois border, but wasn't too concerned, my folks don't live to far now.

Entering Marion, we hit the freezing rain, and the roads conditions deteriorated quickly. 5 o'clock traffic kept the tire tracks open, and the salt trucks were doing their jobs. When we arrived at my parents, the car looked like this. We acquired this much, in just an hour.

It is funny to see the car sitting in the dark, and it just be 5:30 PM. I never get used to time change. We got unloaded, the house was warm, and decorated and there was a pot of chili simmering on the stove. Oh God the smell of home!

By morning

And it is still coming down.

It has been 15 years since I have seen this much snow. I was like a kid. I couldn't wait to get out in it!!!! I bundled up and Comet and I hit the streets.

 Nothing is moving, and the snow is still coming down hard. The crunch of the snow under my boots, and the hiss as it fell took me to a place so long ago. In the quiet, I let myself believe for just an instant, I had somehow walked thru a portal and was 10 again. Me and my trusty side kick were on a snow adventure and gathering up the gang for a days outting of sledding, snowball fights and fort building.

It is good to be home again.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wreath Making - Poor Planning, Over Spending Tutorial

You know you are going to make something, you have the idea in your head, but it is just an idea. You haven't fully prepared, but you venture out anyway to buy your supplies.....

Ominus music  - *dum dum dum.......*

This is the unprepared hell I live in. Walk with me, if you dare :)

I am making a wreath for my Mom for Christmas. Don't worry, she doesn't use the interwebs. It is still a magical place that only a special few are invited to see, so we don't have to worry about her seeing the pictures.  I want to make her one of those big poofy wreaths. I like them, and she does too. Anything that is over the top is perfect for my Mom.

I do a bit of poking around to find out what supplies I may need as opposed to doing my research while shopping. This gives me a ruff idea of what will be purchased as opposed to what I have,  and out the door I go.  First stop Dollar Tree to see if they have any wreaths. A lot of times they have some really fun stuff, but today, I think everyone else is in the same mood. Off I go to the the hell that is Wal-Mart during the holidays.

Of course I grab the trolley with the wonkey wheel and instead of gliding thru the throngs of shoppers (where are they all coming from on a weekday afternoon!) I have to with great effort, push my cart.  Picture me in the same body posture as pushing a lawn mower, that was me,  thru the isles of this retail purgatory.

In my head I have a list of things that I need beyond the crafty items -  toothpaste, socks, bread..ya know those things that you always need. I tell myself, "Get those on the way out", I really need to focus on the task at hand. Off to the craft department. There is a specific list rolling thru my head, fanciful pipe cleaners, festive material, beautiful wired ribbon and a wired wreath. It is all coming together and looking beautiful in my noggin studio. I must find these things!

The wreaths are picked over, the material choices are nil, ribbon is freaking expensive, and no fanciful pipe cleaners. Panic kicks up a notch, not quite at DefCon 1 but I could get there quick. Time to make sacrifices and work on different choices.

When it doesnt' go the way you want it to, it gets frustrating. Instead of making it a game, and searching for fun and cool alternatives, I felt rushed and made hasty decisions. Did I say, I am giving this to her tomorrow? Now, I make panic'd choices, and fill my cart with too many items, and then we hit DefCon1. I can't filter thru all of these things to make a proper choice. I am overwhelmed! So I wander. I wander around looking at snow tires, and fishing poles to clear my mind, then go back and start to glean what I need. I am really excited that I did venture into the Christmas department during one of these mind clearings. I found ribbon for a fraction of a cost!

So $71  later here is what I got::
1. There is the reciept - $71?? What the heck was I thinking???
2. Batteries - while clearing my head, I remembered I needed batteries
3. Snickers peanut butter and Dr. Pepper - for medicinal purposes only
4. Pattern for a purse.......It must have just fallen into my cart, I have no memory of looking at patterns
5. Material for the wreath, and my dog a coat, and some awesome shear rainbow material that will make something awesome!!!!
6. Wreath. Couldn't find a wire one, but the vine one will work just fine.
7. Ribbon from the garden center that was so flippin cheap!
8. Sheer netting and glittery gold ribbon. Perfect compliment to the material
9. I couldn't decide on one pattern, and besides it is for my Mom, she likes it wild!
11. Little ornaments for the wreath
12. Pipe cleaners. I had to buy 2 packs, because I needed more than 10 gold pipe cleaners........

Time for fun!

Tie pipe cleaners on the inside ring of the wreath - all points of the compass, 8 pipe cleaners. Then do the same on the outside edge of the wreath (just a bit offset from the inside of the wreath) - 8 pipe cleaners.

Wreath = $4.47
Pipe Cleaners = $2.47 per pk - I used 16 of them - total .64

I bought 2 yards of fabric at $2.97 a yard, only needed 1. Fold the fabric into thirds long ways and cut it into strips. This is roughly the same width as the red mesh spool of ribbon. at $3.77 a spool. Once that is done, sew the ends together. This will give you a bit over 6 yards of fabric.

Take the end of the fabric and secure it to one of the inside pipe cleaners, and work your way around the inside of the wreath. Twist the pipe cleaners around the fabric, keeping it tight and close to the wreath. There is plenty of pipe cleaner sticking up, you will use a lot of it. Use 8 - 10 " of fabric between each pipe cleaner, it will make the fabric bulk up.

When you have gone around the inside of the wreath and are back where you started, continue on, now on the outside of the wreath.

Now it is a matter of repeating your steps. I put the red and gold mesh together, and worked it around the wreath, just like the fabric. This is why you need the extra length in the pipe cleaner. The red and gold mesh worked out to about .08 a yard  - approx 6 yards each, we will round it up to .50 for easier math. so $1.

Don't stop yet! There is still more ribbon. Work it around the same way, but this time, skip around the pipe cleaners. Let the ribbon wander around the design.  I bought 2 of the red/gold ribbon at $2.47, didn't use the whole roll, it worked out to aprox .16 per foot for a total of  $1.44. The same for the White ribbon with the design - $1.44. Finish it off with some ornaments, 2 packs at $2 each and you are done! Fluff your ribbons and material to really bulk out the design. Now you need to tuck the pipe cleaners thru the back of the wreath and twist them down tight. You can clip any excess or just tuck it back thru. 

 Moral of the story - I spent $71, $20.51 more than I should have. If I would have went into it only buying exactly what I needed I would have spent,  $50.49 -  to make a $16 wreath. If I would have done a better job of planning and scouting deals, I could have trimmed off maybe $5 or more. Upside, I have an older wreath, that I can dismantle, and I still have enuff things (minus the ornaments) to re make this wreath. So, I almost got a two for one deal!

Did I have fun and enjoy myself - you betcha!!!!