Sunday, December 30, 2007

My First Snowman.

As a New Englander and as a lover of nature and whimsy, I am fully embarrassed to admit that I have never --- in my 34 years of life --- created or participated in the creation of a snowman or snow-woman. Apparently, this is a fact that I have never shared with my husband --- of 13 years --- until this weekend. I think that he is now wrestling with shock and pity. Apparently, he had a dad that thoroughly enjoyed making a snowman after each snowfall. I, on the other hand, had Bob (some of you know exactly what that means and know that I still love him dearly despite his lack of parenting skills).

Anyway, I decided long ago that I was going to be the sort of parent that could shock & awe my son with all sorts of amazing and "cool" skills .... i.e. fort defending, sled racing, firefly catching, and snowman building (not to mention cooking, cleaning and laundry). So, this weekend -- when the snow was just right, the weather was gorgeous, and Daddy was away working (I didn't want him around to show up my skills) --- I decided that it was a great day for building a snowman with my son. And though I had never done such a thing before, and never even seen it done, I thought it was a "no-brainer". So ... Isaac and I took to the outdoors... and I began to pile snow. I mean, I literally just began to pile snow.

I piled and shaped, and piled and shaped and then piled and shaped some more. And Isaac wanted no part of it. In fact, he wanted to go indoors "to watch dinosaurs". I kept reassuring him that Mommy was building a snowman and that we were having fun. I asked him to join Mommy in her pile building. He continued to want no part of it, and just kept staring at me as though I was some kind of jack*ss. And I would later find out that I was indeed a jack*ss, because one does not build a snowman by piling up snow and molding it into a volcanic shape. But I didn't know that then, and just kept telling Isaac that Mommy was trying very hard. This turned out to be a mistake --- because every time that I would stop to take a breather from shaping this alien-looking structure that continued to fall apart every couple of minutes --- Isaac would admonish me to "try very hard Mama!" To which I would reply with some ridiculous remark like, "Well if you are so great ... then you build this fricken snowman!" Good times .... Good times.

Well, after much work (on my part only), the snowman was finished. He looked a little strange to me, but I let it go. Then Daddy came home. And Isaac showed him his snowman (as if ). And Daddy laughed. And I proudly stated, "Not bad for someone who never built a snowman before, eh?" And Daddy thought I meant Isaac. You can imagine his delight in picking on me when I told him that I was talking about me. Then he felt some pity for the woman he loves ... and he told me that he would show me how to build a proper snowman one of these days.

Fat chance of that happening though ... because I took a little visit to YouTube and stocked up on some "How To Build a Snowman" videos because I want to be the cool parent who knows how to create all the cool things. Apparently, I am not the only person in need of some help, as there were plenty of videos to choose from!

However, I guess it might go without saying that when Daddy discovered I was checking out YouTube for snowman making tips, he felt even more pity for me.

Anyway, if you need them, there are some here and here. And before you can even ask, YES I know how to make snow angels. But if I didn't, I could learn here.



Friday, December 28, 2007

Some Fun Movie Making ... Starring Us.

Ok... this is just for fun ... so please don't get mad, sad or angry ... I am about to show you a hilarious video that I made on JibJab. But first, let me explain something ... Halis and I have been life long Democrats and have had to switch parties this year in order to vote for our favorite candidate. So, though the following video pokes fun at Republicans (light-heatedly), we are essentially making fun of ourselves and of our recent choice to switch parties. No ill will intended toward either political party.

So, let's see how many faces you can recognize in the following video. And be sure to visit JibJab to make your own :)

Don't send a lame Starring You! eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Some Handmade Gifts That I Can Now Show You ...

... because they have already been gifted away to my loved ones.

I made these pillows for my best friend's couch:

I made these ornaments for my Mom as well as my Brother-in-Law:

I made these stationary folders for several ladies in my life. These were my favorite sewing project this season:

They included notecards of my own photography. The theme was "A Year in Maine":

Ahhh... and then there was the Johnny Depp pillow. Yum:

All that sewing, but I am still SO in the mood to create more! It felt wonderful to be able to give gifts that I spent quality time working on --- made with love and lots of coffee :)



PS: There were many more handmade gifts given ... but I have already shown them here before ... knowing that the receivers do not check my blog.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Introducing ...

... my godson, Mr. Brady Borromeo:

What a special Christmas present I received! I get to be his godmother and to assist with his relationship to the Creator throughout his life. How wonderful.

Brady ~ we are so happy that you have joined our family. We love you.

~ Aunt Jodi

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve 2007.


We'll touch the candle of our hearts

To the flame of the Advent Star

And set the light to burn a path

Where the darkened places are.

And some who never lift their eyes

To the stars that flood the night,

May find their way to a Bethlehem

By our candle's friendly light.

~ Ernest H. Sommerfeld


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Tree Revisited : And Other Holiday Decorations

I think I like the new tree even better.

I found this vintage advent calendar at Goodwill for .59 cents! It s from Sweden (I believe).
It is so darn cute and has movable parts. Isaac keeps lovingly staring at it while declaring, "So pretty, Mama. Mama made that. It so pretty. Good job, Mama." I am SO not going to tell him that I didn't make it :)

And here is my vintage paper find from last year ... a nativity scene. I love it! (Sorry for the bad photo).


Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Tree 2007

So, here is the story of this year's Christmas tree in the Renshaw-Sirimoglu household. Yes, there is a "story" --- though I am not sure whether it comes with a moral or any nugget of wisdom, but it is a "story" none-the-less.

As you may remember, we travelled to Piper Mountain with some friends to cut down our well-chosen Christmas tree. And this is what we came home with:

... not particularly charming, as it has a gaping hole on one side and is flat on the other. But we gave it a chance to be a glorious part of our holidays anyway.

And the kids were ready and excited to decorate this awkward but sweet hand-picked tree. Lots of laughs were shared... lots of silly antics...

And of course, Halis placed his coveted Dan Marino ornament in its own hallowed spot on the tree - where it could be well seen and appreciated by all. (How many of you out there can say that Dan Marino is hanging from your tree?)

And after some great ornament arrangements by Meaghan and myself.... while Halis watched from the recliner ... and Isaac sought to destroy every ornament he could get a hold of (he enjoys throwing things to see what they will do).... our tree finally became this beautiful masterpiece of festive Christmas merriment ...

But sadly, the tree would not experience such splendor for very long. I am not sure whether gravity, the dogs or the devil himself had a hand in our tree's sudden bought with dizziness ... but she (as we refer to her) came crashing to the floor like a drunken uncle... breaking nearly every sacred childhood ornament that was lovingly placed on her.... not to mention most of her branches as well. Sad. Very sad.

So, Halis did what any good dad would do in this situation. After I removed all remaining ornaments from her branches, he took her outside and resurrected her into a shorter, but actually more charming, version of herself:

And now Isaac and I (okay, mostly I) will spend part of today returning the tree to its original festive splendor, albeit with a lot less decoration ... and no more gaping hole.

There is our tree story. Just a little bit of drama as is often the case around here :) But the story won't end here ... I'll be sure to post pictures of the tree's second chance at life.

So, how are your holiday decorations holding up???



Friday, December 14, 2007

Oh the Joy of Sewing!

I am having so much fun trying out new sewing patterns ... made by me... but inspired by others. I recently uploaded some of my favorite photographs to in order to create some fun note cards for gift-giving. But after ordering them, I realized that they needed patchwork stationary wraps ... you know ... to contain all the cards & envelopes while also making them look simply gorgeous!

So, this is a work in progress, but here is what I came up with for some of my own cards (of my dog, Jack):

The jean fabric is very sturdy, but I still added a fairly stiff lining. I plan to sew a divider between the envelopes and the cards, but I think that may be the only alteration. I really like how these came out! I look forward to making them for some loved-ones for Christmas ... but better get going on them!

By the way, for those who are interested, I have placed more goodies in my Etsy Shop.

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays thus far :) Today, we decorate the tree! I'll be sure to post photos soon and hope you will show me your trees as well.



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sharing a Secret ...

Okay, it may be a little late for the holidays (or not), but I have a secret that I am only now willing to share. It may seem silly, but I have been very protective (okay, maybe the word is possessive) of my favorite place to shop for discounted books. As you may have read in the past, we are definitely a "book family". We use them to learn new things, ease into the changes of the seasons, get cozy for bedtime, etc. And we love to give them as gifts.

So, years ago, when I found, I was thrilled! This on-line bookstore sells some great books at some ridiculously low prices. However, the selection is limited and changes daily, so it is not the first place I go to for books. I use to see whether the book I already want is available there before I go and pay full price for it elsewhere. And occassionally I will browse through to see if they have any great books that I hadn't yet thought of.

And recently, I found a couple of GREAT winter books that I thought I would tell you all about:

Click on the images to see their info and prices. Then check out their reviews on Amazon here and here.

Here are 2 more reasons to shop there: 1. Their shipping fees are VERY reasonable 2. They give you a $5 off coupon for your next order - each time you order. So, run, don't walk ... and check it out. BUT only share this secret with a select few, as their book supply is limited :)


P.S. I don't get any kick-backs for sharing this info with you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Bags ... As Always ...

I think that I will forever be making bags of all sorts throughout my life. They are so fun to make, so versatile, so useful and make great gifts! And they can also be created to showcase your own artwork. Here, I took a copy of a squirrel I had painted and turned him(or her) into a batik tote bag. This one *might* be for my cousin, Nicole (if she wants it). If not, you will find it on Etsy soon:

This one is a gift for a poker player in my life:

And these have been sent to Haiti as Christmas gifts for my son's biological sisters:

And I am sure there will be more to come :)


Monday, December 10, 2007

Tree Hunt at Piper Mountain : 2007

I LOVE rituals. And heading to Piper Mountain with my friends and family in order to pick out our Christmas trees has become a recent, but favorite ritual. It has been a long time ritual of our dearest friends, and we are so thankful to be a part of it.

You can see some fun photos from our outing by clicking on our Flickr account to the right ... But here are some of the highlights:

Our best friends.

Devon shakes the trees in order to make some really cool photos!

Meaghan experiences several "white washes".

Isaac learns how to throw snowballs (thanks Grampy!).

Daddy and his boy.

My favorite photo of the day.

Meaghan and her Grampy.

Ahh... and the evening fire. Gotta love it :)

And speaking of rituals and traditions, Halis and I plan to incorporate some new ones into our lives thanks to some great suggestions I have received from some new books. I hope to share them with you soon and to hear of yours as well!

Lots of love,

Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Banners for Etsy.

I just love these banners. I love hanging them all around the house for every occasion ... even birthdays! The one pictured above is my "Winter Solstice" banner. It can be kept up throughout the winter till it is time to be replaced by our "Spring" banner. And they are such practical decorations in that they can be washed, folded, and put away till they return year after year. (By the way, the solstice banner resides above the window, but was moved for photographing).

I plan to make several of these in the next week ... in all sorts of winter themes (Christmas, Snowmen, Nativity, Solstice, etc) ... so that I can post them on Etsy. But, just in case I am unable to complete all that I would like to, I thought I would offer my readers a chance to special order one or more if they would like.

I have loads of fabric for use in these banners, so you can choose your theme and your colors and I can put together a wonderful banner that works for your home.

Each banner will be about 3 yards long, made of 100% cotton, and contain about 12-13 pendants. The cost is $18 each, which includes shipping!

Just let me know :)
Thank you,

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Still Coveting Owls ...

While painting with Isaac one night, I created this sweet little owl:

(Notice the 70's thrifted coffee mug? - Also a passion of mine).
And while browsing Etsy the other night (yes Nic, it is addictive) I had to buy this handmade paper owl :

Only $5! I look forward to framing it and hanging it in my new kitchen. Please click here to see this man's work. He is careful, inexpensive and very sweet.

And speaking of new kitchens, it looks like late January our house will be ready. I was hoping for sooner but am thankful for the opportunity - no matter what the timeline.

Enjoy your day :)

~ Jodi