She's Crafty, And She's Just My Type

Wanna know my most very best kept secret ever?  I totally get off on arts and crafts.  Once I was asked to make wedding invitations for a friend of mine, and I spent a week straight in the back of Archivers, loosing my mind.  It's the closest thing to 'huffing gas fumes on crack with a mouth full of glue' I'll ever get.  Don't tell anyone, though, okay?  I have something of a reputation to maintain.

Lucky for me, so do my kids.  Sorry about the crappy camera phone pictures.

My husband has boxes on boxes of his little, cute, handmade ornaments from when he was a kid.  My kids?  Not so much.  They have an assload of ornaments, but nothing they've made.  Because I suck, that's why.  This year, I'm trying to go as handmade as possible, if for no other reason, to negate some hefty therapy bills when they grow up.

The Reckneck Mommy was nice enough to walk me through the whole Garland thing last week.  We've never had garland on our tree before, so she shared with me how she and her kids make garland with beads and paint.  Because she doesn't suck, that's why.  (Gratuitous plug aside: She was nominated for a 2008 Weblog Award for a very good reason.  Vote for her here, if you're so inclinded.  Maybe she'll teach you how to shoot a deer or soemthing.)

I'm hoping to have enough to mail to some family as their gifts.  It's not looking good so far, though, but my boys are both sporting brand new beady necklaces and bracelets.  Which took them hours to make.  Oh, the glorious silence.

But that's just my kids.  As for me, well, I've got this going on.

Which, once I line it all up with a ruler, is going to look like this:

Which, once I line that all up with a level, is going to look something like this:

That's a homemade Advent calender, baby.  The kids picked their own paper patterns and my neighbor has a fucking scrapbooking mecca in her basement for finishing touches.  Funny thing; I had no real idea what an Advent Calendar was, or what Advent was, until 2 days ago.  Thank you JESUS for Twitter.  Julie Pippert explained to me exactly what the whole thing was about, and then PGoodness showed me how to make my own calendar.  I should have all three done by Christmas Eve.

See?  I told you people I'm not hot.  NOT HOT.  But in hot glue heaven, so it balances out.  Though, in all honesty, this sort of earns me back some hot points.

That's a Bûche de Noël, and I made that, too.  It took me three days and tasted like heaven.  It's got homemade caramel and buttercream in it, and more than a little Frangelico.  Everything on that tray in the very old, very grainy picture is handmade and edible.  I'm going to try really hard to make one this year, and if you're not skimming this post (yeah, right) and will spend Christmas within driving distance of me (oh, let's say Bellingham and up) leave me a comment and I'll try to make two, and I'll randomly give one away.  If I get to it.  No promises.  That bitch is hard.

As for things that I haven't, and am not about to, ruin with the best of intentions, there is Etsy.  Etsy is my secret lover.  I get lost in it's dreamy green eyes sometimes.  I have never once, however, bought anything off Etsy for Christmas.  I am an idiot of epic proportions.

In an attempt to play along with the Handmade Pledge, and keeping in mind that handmade does not always equal awesome, I hopped on Etsy to see how hard it would be to round out my list.  Cue angels signing and clouds parting.  I can't show you the stuff I found, because the recipients of said items all read this blog, but I can say this: the three people I'm buying off of Etsy for are kind of impossible to shop for, and with a basic, general search and 5 spare minutes, I had each one's present in my shopping cart.  And spent less than I did at McDonald's on lunch for four of us.

What I can show you is someone else who make very awesome handmade gifts.  Lil' Brit Knits is a Denver based hand knit website (the stuff, not the site, that would be hard to navigate through) and they have really really cute things.  Things like a backpack for my toddler:

And a knit bride and groom, who crack me the hell up and I want to send them to everyone as a wedding gift.  I could have totally used those to explain to my 5 month old why the hell mom and dad were all dressed up at a party that one September afternoon*.

She knits all kinds of stuff, practical to quaint, and since I couldn't knit my way out of a paper bag, I'm all about outsourcing that stuff.

And half of the people in yesterday's posts?  Handmade, too.  Handmade is the new black.  It tastes great, it's less filling.  Even still, tomorrow I'm going all Material Girl on your asses.  And I'm going to love it.

*Hey, it's not like I sent him an invitation to the wedding or anything, but he mumbled something about "Food Source" and insisted on being there anyway.