Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas FROM JAMES


Well, Lily may have signed off for the year. But I have her login info! Here's a little something for all you merry-makers in need of a little Scroogery. Ho-ho-ho.
Jingle Bell Schlock
Since I’ve never managed to write anything better about Christmas, I’m just gonna run this old thing I wrote for Metrobeat again:
DECEMBER 22, 2004

Yuletide songs help us get in the spirit by playing in endless rotation.
Ah, Christmas. I’ve got the spirit; don’t you? Don’t you just love the season when parents trample one another to get the latest toys to keep Junior quiet? Isn’t the absurd amount of traffic in our shopping districts pleasant? Aren’t you just thrilled to shell out your hard-earned cash so your kid can have his picture taken sitting on some fat guy’s lap? I know I am.
But perhaps the best part about Christmas is the music. There’s nothing I love more than hearing tedious, saccharine yuletide anthems such as Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” played incessantly from Halloween to New Year’s. And no matter how many different arrangements I hear, I never tire of Muzak versions of “Greensleeves.”
Each year, carolers as diverse as Kenny Rogers, Mariah Carey and the old ladies in the church social group down the street caterwaul for whomever will listen to these familiar melodies. Some of the more talented choose to show their holiday spirit by writing or recording Christmas tunes. Here is a rundown of a few of my favorites, classics destined to live forever in the annals of music.
“MELE KALIKIMAKA”
Written by R. Alex Anderson, a Honolulu native and 1998 inductee in the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame who composed nearly 200 songs, this number is “the island greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway.” Probably the best-known version is by acclaimed singer/actor/corporal punishment advocate Bing Crosby. The song appeared on Crosby’s White Christmas album, and earned international fame as a result of that recording.
“DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS?”
Remember the ’80s? Remember when pompous, self-important rock stars like Sting and Bono joined hands with other members of rock’s elite in a chorus lamenting the state of the world? The profits from the sale of such singles were supposed to go to charity. In 1984, Bob Geldof (make that SirBob, thank you very much) wrote a tune called “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” The aforementioned mono-monikered windbags were joined by such musical luminaries as Boy George, Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon and George Michael in a massive sing-along that irritatingly shot to the top of the British pop charts that year. Thank God those days are over.
Or are they? A new version of the song has been recorded, featuring heir to Bono’s bloated rock crown Chris Martin (of Coldplay) and Aussie pop-tart Kylie Minogue. And guess what? It’s sitting squarely at number one on the UK pop charts this week.
CHRISTMAS ISLAND
There is perhaps no greater genius in music history than Jimmy Buffett. Think about it. Mozart? Bah! Did Mozart write anything as annoyingly catchy as “Cheeseburger in Paradise” or “Margaritaville”? Bach? Humbug! Did Bach have the ingenuity to turn himself into a brand, shrewdly lending his name, face and songs to night clubs, general stores, hammocks, barbecue sauce and tequila? No! Bach wasted vast amounts of time walking hundreds of miles to see organ concerts. Bach went blind composing his long-winded, baroque music, rife with convoluted counterpoint. And that was before they had Braille.
Born on Christmas Day 1946, Buffett has gained international acclaim for his laidback songs and smooth island sound. His album Christmas Islandfeatures traditional and self-penned holiday tunes in his trademark style. Buffett’s version of “Mele Kalikimaka” is here, as well.
“PEACE ON EARTH/THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY”
Perhaps my least favorite of all Christmas songs is “The Little Drummer Boy.” Maybe it’s the melody; maybe it’s the perpetual repetition of “rum-pum-pum-pum.” Whatever it may be, this song is highly troubling. Maybe it’s the fact that Bing Crosby and David Bowie recorded a version for one of Der Bingle’s endless Christmas specials. Crosby croaked within a month of the taping, which aired after his death. Since then, it’s joined “Wonderful Christmastime” on endless repeat.
“SANTA CLAUS AND HIS OLD LADY”
One of the few songs to actually capture the spirit of fun the holidays embody is by none other than Cheech and Chong. The dope-smoking duo tell a tale of a Santa who emerges from the projects and gives his reindeer “magic dust” to make them “fly.” Music critics often talk about “saviors” who will rescue rock and roll from their current doldrums. But I argue that what we need today is a Savior of the Season. Where are you Cheech and Chong? We hear you’re getting back together to film another flick to tickle our funny bones. We need you now, more than ever. Make Christmas fun again. Take away the acidic commercialism and fetid nostalgia. Give us some of that “magic dust!”
OTHER “CLASSICS”
Honorable mention goes to a couple of all-time favorites. These are certified smash hits that are simply unforgettable: Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” and “Jingle Bells” by the Singing Dogs.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On Holiday

Okay, I'm taking the rest of the month off from blogging. Ready to kick back and enjoy time with friends and family, cuddling with babies, drinking peppermint mochas, catching up on reading, singing carols, making some lists for the new year...

Hope all your holiday festivities are the best yet! See you in 2012!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dolls

I'm making a bunch of fun little dolls. They are cute and enjoyable to make and sell in my alternate etsy shop. Which shall not be linked until it is good and ready ;) Gosh, I love being on holiday!!! Wine and craft time and lots of talking and planning with James! This is the life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homemade Pizza, a weekly tradition

We honestly have been eating this pizza weekly. Toppings may vary, of course. The dough is super easy and the pies cook in less time than a frozen pizza!

Ingredients:
1 packet of yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
2.5 cups all p. flour
salt
oil

sause
cheese
toppings
spices

In a smallish bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the honey. Set it aside. 

Sift your flour into a large bowl with some shakes of salt. Make a valley in the flour and pour in a tablespoon or so of oil. Olive, vegetable, canola, whatever you've got. Set it aside.

Decide what you are going to put your pizzas on or in. I like to use a large, round cookie pan and a smaller pie pan. Prep your pans with oil and season with whatever you like: garlic, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, oregano. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350-400.

By now, your yeast solution is probably ready. Add it to the flour and mix it up. It should for a soft, sticky dough. Separate into as many pies as you are making. Using extra flour to make it manageable, spread dough in pans. Season the dough the same way you seasoned the pans. Add sause. Add cheese. Season again. Add toppings. Season again. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Less if your pies are thin. More if they are thick. 

ENJOY!

P.S. Our toppings usually include fresh tomatoes, peppers, spinach and fresh basil.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

What She Wore 9: A French Braid Crown

This time, we are not in front of our usual bright backdrop. I took these early in the morning and we were enjoying the first light. Bea is wearing her skeleton shirt from Halloween and her skirt from buybuybaby.

See that little freckle on her cheek in the bottom picture? I love it.

Beatrice has a-may-zing eyes. They are dark green. I have dark brown eyes and James' are clear blue. I guess we are both so genetically stubborn that neither one won out and our kids have a rare and beautiful* combination. Yep, as far as we can tell, Am's are the same captivating color as Beatrice's.

*I am unabashedly biased.

Little Red Riding Hood

This little piece of faded adorableness is a rag doll book. It's the story of Little Red Riding Hood. I found her at Goodwill and sent her through the laundry no less than three times before I felt she was sufficiently de-germed. She may or may not be more faded now than she was before I chanced upon her in the forest of lost toys.
Something I have not mentioned here before is that there is yet another relocation in our near-ish future. Our new home will be more or less our permanent home. AND, luckily for me, the children will have separate rooms! I get to decorate a girl room (bright and vintage and not overly girly) and a boy room (jungle/safari in the best possible way)! Expect to see room-spiration posts in the coming weeks :) Our move is planned for after tax-season and Spring Term end.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Now That I Have Time

I am making a dress! This will be a short, mod, 1960s style dress. The main fabric is a dull lavender, which is not really my thing, but it makes the buttons and accent fabric POP. *happiness*

This is one of a few vintage patterns that Daddy got for me at a yard sale over the summer- is that not awesome? I am doing the middle look, but I ran out of fabric, so the dress will have to be sleeveless. Also, the pattern was missing the back piece, but I made one up based on the thumbnail below.
I want to get some slightly-clunky, 60s style heels and paint them mustard yellow to coordinate with the accent fabric of the collar and welt. Yes, "welt" is what that faux pocket thing is called, apparently. It kinda weirded me out, too.

Pillsbury

Now that I have a cookie jar, I feel like reveling in domestic stereotypical womanhood. When my children nap, I make cookies. When my husband comes home from work? He is greeted by the smell of the Christmas tree, cinnamon candles and fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies. Would you care for peanut butter or chocolate chip, dear?
Seriously, though, I'm in love with this adorable Santa cookie jar! And so is Beatrice. In the sweetest voice imaginable, she asks, "Mama, may I pleeeease hold Santa?"

And, yes, they are from a package. But how could I possibly resist when the package said it contained no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup? (And, yes, they were still good.)



Monday, December 12, 2011

A Find

Someone please buy me this. There is a great coupon code ("FallingLeaves" For 10% Off) and it's only $12 anyway. I want to turn it into a hot kimono.

P.S. These cheap earrings would look great with it!

Trimmings

The boys got the tree and the girls got the decorations. Then the trimming commenced:

A late night trip to Big Lots for more lights. A stocking that doesn't match because someone has to have a ballerina /princess stocking. Santas everywhere. The Holy Family. Lots of balls.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Stowaway!

This little guy survived the transition from Halloween to Fall decor. It looks as though he has tried to disguise himself as a civilian toy. But we found him, the renegade!
pants: barbie's
vest: woody's

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Charm: The Career Girl's Guide to Business and Personal Success

I had this book when I was a teenager and I spent countless hours with it. Somewhere in all the upheaval of college and moving and marriage, it got gone. Finally, last week, I looked it up online and ordered another copy. (Life is so much easier now that we have the internet. As a teen, I chanced upon it at the Salvation Army or similar thrift store. Back when I spent more time in the book section than the clothes.)

This is a book that teaches a young lady how to be charming: how to do your hair and make-up, how to develop your personal style, how to be pleasant company and have a pleasing voice, how to find and keep a good job, how to charm a man into giving you his name. And it is a treasure trove of vintage graphics/pictures/illustrations.

That last image is in the section that tells you all about how to deal with The Office Wolf and the many varieties of office wolves there are. You will also learn how to deal with old people and which girdle works best for you, how to behave at a party and how to wear a wig.

This book would make a great gift to any young lady in your life, especially one who has a heart for vintage or who is career oriented. (Or who you feel needs a good nudge some inspiration.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Honesty: Tights

Tights are so in right now, as they always should be. And I love them as much as any girl in my blogging niche. But seriously, ladies: Are you wearing all those little dresses and skirts around all the time with tights underneath or are you just doing your outfit post pictures and returning to our static-free world?
This is Elycia, one of my favorite outfit posters and a girl who loves color as much as I do!
Because I cannot go three steps without the part of my skirt that ought to daintily flit around my knee glueing itself to my mid-thigh. And not relaxing even when I stop. I wear a slip and I have never had success with the hairspray trick.

If you know the secret, please share it with me. I feel like I must just be missing something.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


What She Wore 9: Orange with a Side of Dots


When Beatrice doesn't feel well, it shows. On these rare occasions, she is not the loud, rambunctious wild-lady you are used to seeing in these posts. But I painted her nails and that always makes her feel better. Besides, we needed to match. 

dress: thrifted
socks: made by Moma (my mama)
shoes: Ralph Lauren Polo gifted by Gramma (James' mama)
not pictured: Hello Kitty big girl undies :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

About Yesterday:

So as I have already said, I completed this term's finals yesterday. It was a really good day. And now I'm going to tell you about it.

James didn't go to work. So we had a nice family morning and then I headed out to school. My first exam was math at 11:30. I knew I only had to get 22 out of 100 on the final to get an A in the class, so I didn't really study. Got the test and was happy to recognize everything on it. (This is kinda major for me because last time I took college level math I failed miserably.)

It took a little less than an hour so I had plenty of time before my next critiques/exam at 3. I took all my rental books back to the bookstore and still had tons of time so I decided to treat myself. I went to the little flatbread cafe on campus and got a nice hot panini, found a convenient and comfortable spot and read Howl's Moving Castle while I ate. It felt really good to do something purely fun. I took my time.

Then I made my way to my next appointment and had a few minutes to read before we started. Critiques are never fun, but it didn't last too long. I'm really happy with my project and it was neat to see what everyone else did. My friend Beth did an awesome job on hers. In fact, she and I were both exempted from the final. Sweeeet! (I am so stoked that we have two classes together in the Spring Term!)

When I got home, James had made The Best Spaghetti Ever. But before dinner, we did a little thrift store run. You know, to celebrate exams being over and all. We didn't find much, but what we did find was totally worth going out in the dark, drizzly, rain to find!!! (For one thing, a 60s striped, brightly colored, tailored blazer for James.)

When we got home, we checked the mail and found our next netflix feature waiting, The Incredibles. We all watched about a quarter of the movie after dinner. Then it was bed for the kids and gym for me. Felt so good to work off any residual stress from the semester. Came home and enjoyed a glass of wine and watched Heathers with James (which I had never seen, but wanted to since that whole thing with Raja and Carmen and Manilla and Delta).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pink Hair (yes, again)

If James didn't like my hair brown so very much, I can assure you it would always be either dark blue or baby pink. I think James should grow his out like Howl Pendragon and have it dark, dark blue!


Exams Are Over: I Am Free

Time to party!!!
Here's to getting As in all my classes! Here's to a few weeks of nothing but Good Cheer! Here's to being one of the first ones to know happy news! Here's to a yet unscheduled Christmas party! Here's to not breaking another camera lens this year!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wish Me Luck

I'm headed to the printer with my flash (gordon) drive in hand-- and my laptop because I more or less know I'm going to have to make some final edits... But I'm super close to being done.
color bars+tv static=*heart*

*likes*

I really love tumblr because there is such a wealth of inspiration and humor. I know I'm behind the times and pinterest is where it's at. Whatever, though, because I still like tumblr. (Although I finally got invited to pinterest -thanks, Beth!!)

Mostly what I post on my tumblr is stuff I want to share with my baby sister, Emma. I hope she checks it regularly. ;)


This makes me laugh: