Pardon the totally cheesy reference to The Shining. But I have been cooped up in the house for almost five days, save my harried trip to Albertsons last night during which I was under a 20 minute time constraint as the husband wanted to hurry home before the 'storm' hit. Which it did, kind of. We didn't lose power thankfully, which is somewhat of a miracle around here. Homeowners in our neighborhood don't like their tree branches trimmed around power lines, which leads to at least a few lengthy power outages a year.
So, I'm kind of feeling like Jack Torrance about now. The homicidal part, no, but the crazy part, yes. The house is feeling even smaller than usual, the Christmas clutter is expanding exponentially, and stuff is really starting to get to me. Like last night, when we made our one outing in days, I left the sugar cookies I'd slaved over on the counter to cool. Four dozen of them. And when we came home, I had two guilty looking doggies and about four TOTAL cookies left. Okay, I guess at this point I might had been homicidal. Dogicidal, really. I yelled at the dogs and then the husband laughed at me and I burst into tears.
This morning, I put the dogs out because they were driving me nuts and I could smell their breath. Our golden retriever, Carl, came back in with clumps of snow stuck in his wings (you know, that fur that flares out on their legs) and I just KNEW it was going to end up melted all over the house in little puddles. I grabbed the closest pair of scissors and bribed Carl to roll over onto his back with a dog bone. And I went to work. Ten minutes later Carl had a new haircut. I cut off his golden retriever wings. It's not pretty. I will never be a dog groomer. Now I kind of feel guilty and feel like I should just finish off the job with electric clippers. If I'm stuck in this house another day, I can pretty much guarantee that will happen. ( A side note, I do not have photos at this time as my camera has no battery charge, but I will upload one when I find the charger!).
I just looked outside and its snowing again. I can't remember a snow like this since at least 12 years ago. It was the winter after I graduated high school. Why do I remember it so vividly? I got my car stuck in my parents driveway, and then proceeded to put my Dad's truck in the ditch trying to get to work. So if any one's wondering why I'm not a fan of snow, there you go. It's the driving thing.
On a positive note, my son's first Christmas will most likely have snow. That there, folks, is pretty cool and worth the craziness!


Crafts for the Craft Challenged: Tie Blanket

This year, in an effort to be thoughtful and frugal, I decided to make tie blankets for my nieces' and nephews' Christmas gifts. What you must understand about me is that I am terrified of sewing machines (I was sternly warned to stay away from my mother's as a child and I think it put an unnatural fear in me). So, the only blankets I know how to make involve no thread at all.

Thus, the tie blanket. You tie it together. I KNOW.

So, here is my first attempt at a pictorial lesson. Indulge me.

You will need:

- 2 same size pieces of fleece - I vary the size of the blanket on the size of the person. Also, I like to use a pattern on one side and a solid on the other

- Pins

- Very sharp scissors

- A large area to spread out the fleece. I've found a made bed works well, or a large piece of cardboard.

- A glass of white wine, so if you spill it on the blanket it won't stain. Red is okay if it's in a sippy cup.

Step 1: Lay the pieces of fleece on top of each other. If you're using a pattern, make sure the nice side is facing out. Smooth the fleece out and even the edges.

Step 2: Pin the fleece together at 6 inch or so intervals, whatever you need to keep everything together.

Step 3: On the edges, cut 1 inch wide, 4-6 inch long (depending on how fringe-y you want the blanket) strips. Go all the way around.

It'll look all fancy like this:

Step 4: Cut squares out at the corners, about 4"x4". You'll understand why when you tie.

Step 5: Start tying knots. Be careful not to skip pieces. Keep tying till you can't tie no more. Literally, not figuratively.

It'll look like this. A little bunchy.

Step 6: Gently pull the bunchy out. You might hear a little ripping sound. If its from the fabric, don't worry. If it's NOT from the fabric, drink more wine, you probably need it.

Step 7: Stand back and bask in the glory of your domesticity.


Smarty Pants.

Yes, it's been a while. But I seriously have an excuse this time. Well, more of an excuse than working 40 hours a week out of the house and every other waking moment at home. I attended an one week intensive real estate finance class last week. Yes, I had homework. Lots of it. And I had to commute to Kent every day. That's 1.5 hours at least each way. So suffice it to say, it was a long week!

So, about the class. Sounds boring, right? On the surface, yes. But I really got a lot out of it - the biggest take home being I CAN ACTUALLY DO MATH. For reals.

And I can now tell you what an IRR is, a NPV and I can analyze the heck out of a mortgage. How 'bout that? Seriously, I have been math challenged my whole life. This is MAJOR.

Anyhow, I am about to embark on an intensive Christmas preparation journey over the next few weeks. Hopefully I'll have something fun and interesting to post, or at least photos of all the injuries I am bound to endure as I attempt to bake.