Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Traditions Swap

You are all the kindest, sweetest, most supportive bloggy friends anyone ever had.  Seriously. Best Christmas present ever!  Thank you.  Singing is something I've always done.  My first public performance was a duet with my sister at a baptism.  It was a large audience, and we were probably 8 or 9.  We've sung together and apart ever since.  (If you know what CES broadcasts are, I was a soloist in May 2001, when Elder Eyring spoke at the University of Idaho.)  But something happened when we got older.  The funny thing about being a twin is that people are wild to find some difference between you too.  It became "Ohhh....Lolo sings and you play, right?"  Over the years, that's exactly what would happen, and I've become the go-to accompanist for most music events I've involved in.  It's probably partially on my own head, since I never ask for a chance to sing.  I want to change that, and use the talents the Lord has given me.  I hope you'll come along for the journey this coming year!

***Random music rant: I took FOUR YEARS of piano lessons from my mother, ages 8-12.  After that I just picked up whatever music I could find to play, and kept being asked to accompany choirs and soloists.  I had to improve in a hurry.  However, I shouldn't be the go-to accompanist!  Where is everybody else?  All those millions of kids who took piano lessons?  We need you!  End of rant.  :)  ****

OK, on to crafty stuff!

I sent off this little package for a "traditions swap" through Meg McElwee at Sew Liberated. I was excited that I got my name in on time- it's a popular swap, and limited slots. I was paired with Jenny from Little Jenny Wren. I felt OK about everything until I visited her blog- sakes alive, the woman is a doll-making genius. Genius, I say. Makes you want to cry with joy just to look at the little waldorf-style girls and boys that come out of her busy little work shop.

I sent Jenny a stuffed and embroidered door-hanger, a letter detailing some of our favorite family traditions and how to do them, and a few of my favorite recipes. The requirements said holiday recipes...but my sister agreed with me, we don't really have any holiday recipes. We always have hot cider in the crock pot, with a few cinnamon sticks and maybe a clove-studded orange bobbing in there. There's always red Jell-O for Uncle K. Other than that, it's all up for grabs. One year we had beef wellington. Lots of years we have ham with scalloped potatoes. Often those scalloped potatoes came from a box. It's not that my family doesn't cook, it's just that at holiday time there are so many other things to do...fancy recipes seem a little onerous. Heck, ANY recipe seems onerous! So we have the years where everyone spends days preparing a single dish to share, and we have years with boxed scalloped potatoes and an oven-warmed Costco ham. The tradition is that we share the meal. We share our time. I think that's a pretty good tradition, don't you?

(This year was ham, but I hosted so I made the scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, quinoa salad, and french bread.  And of course, dessert was Grandma's Miracle Cobbler, with blackberries I gathered in the summer and stashed away for Christmas.)
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Have a Merry Little Christmas, Y'all

You asked for it, and here it is!  My little Christmas present to you.

Have a very merry Christmas, folks.  May your family and friends be close and your troubles be far.


Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas from Myrnie Twin on Vimeo.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Piano stuff and salty noodles

Thank you thank you for all your sleepy thoughts- Mimi slept well Wednesday night.  (Last night she got up 3 times and partied from 12:30-2:30.  But I'm counting my blessings for a good Wednesday night.)  Hopefully she'll get back on schedule soon.

We had our recital last night.  I never sat down and counted, but I'm pretty sure we had over 40 people here.  14 students playing.  It was phenomenal- I've never been more proud of my kids.  I've taught some of them for 8 years.  If this doesn't sound weird, it is so wonderful to know that I'm able to teach well enough to pass on this beautiful gift of music.  I'm so grateful.  Every student was great.  The cookies were delicious.  I haven't dared go downstairs to the playroom yet to see what fun was had down there- my husband gravely advised against it last night.  In fact, as soon as the girls were tucked in he pretty  much threw me into bed with a heat pad.  Isn't he lovely?  He's such an excellent man.

We had a late breakfast today of pad see ew- very delicious, I heartily recommend it.  Salty noodles are just what we needed to contrast the pile of goodies in the kitchen.  I used cellophane noodles, broccoli, celery, and lots of tofu.

I have a question for you: if these wonderful blogs are places to talk about what we make and craft, what do we do if we make something other than clothes or dolls?  I've been having the "recording itch" lately, and was wondering if anyone would be interested in seeing what I'm working on?  If there's any interest I could record some Christmas music.  Maybe just accompaniment so you can sing with your family?  Or with vocals?  Hubby and I have a few songs we've been working on as well that I hope to record over the holidays- did I mention we have a pretty good recording studio set up in our basement?  I love my husband :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Make This: Reindeer Food

Major accomplishment today, making something with the big kid. Before I tell you why I'm crowing, let me tell you what we did so you can do it too!

Reindeer Food:

liquid food dye

I put about 2 Tbsp of sugar in a jar and let E squeeze in 2 or 3 (or 5 or 6- whoops!) drops of food coloring. She shook that really good, then we funneled in about 1/2 cup of oats. And there you have it- oats for the reindeer, and sparkles to catch the light of Rudolph's nose and show Santa where to land. Ernie's dad will help her throw a few handfuls up on the roof Christmas Eve.

I've seen this done with glitter, but glitter isn't very kind to birdie tummies, so we used sugar.

Now....let Mimi summarize the rest of our week up to this point.
For some unknown reason, Mimi can.not.sleep. Last night: asleep 8-11:30. Nursed, and we both went back to bed. I'd been in bed since 9, but never fell asleep. (Whatever I've done to be punished with insomnia, I'm sorry!) She fell asleep right away, I dozed off around 12:30. She was up again at 1:15, and just couldn't sleep in her crib. I hauled out the quilt and sat in the chair with her until 5:30- she slept fine, but I've lost my magical sleep-sitting-up abilities. I finally put her back down and tried to sleep. I fell asleep around 6:15, and was up at 7:30 to teach piano lessons. She took a 45 minute nap in the afternoon- I never managed to fall asleep. Drat.

When I say she can't sleep in her crib, I mean it. Believe me, after 3 nights of nearly no sleep, you better believe that I'm trying everything I can. This is one tired mama! I don't know if it's a sore throat, or achy teeth, or maybe something in her ears? She has snuffly breathing at night, but no runny nose during the day. However, she likes to sleep on her tummy and knees, bum up in the air. She quiets as soon as I get her out, and often just rests on my shoulder for a minute or two before jumping from my arms back to her crib. I tuck her in...and she's crying again 2 minutes later. She's exhausted, and she and I both want nothing more than some good quality crib time for this poor girl! Tylenol, space heater, cuddly blankets, humidifier, normal routine...she has them all.

So please send sleepy thoughts our way. I have 3 more piano lessons to get through tomorrow, and then I'm hosting a piano recital for all 14 of my students, and up to 30 more spectators. Forty-five people in my living room tomorrow night... why I never thought of moving the recital to a larger location, I'm sure I don't know.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Crazies

I've fought it.  I really have.  But here we are on the 12th of December, and I'm feeling the crazies.

Our tree this year would be simple- Ikea sells them for $20, with $10 back when you return it.  Problem was, there was a wedding that weekend.  I'd agreed to help set up in the morning, and Daddy didn't want to take the girls by himself.  I ended up going Friday morning when my mom offered to watch the girls, impromptu.  Great.  Easy.  Until I nearly lost the tree going sixty on the freeway!

Now the tree is up, and we have lights on it.  And that's all.  Baby would just climb to reach any ornaments, so it's simple.

I've fought with myself to make presents equally simple this year.  I canned all summer, thinking "Christmas presents!"  Winter hit and I found myself thinking "Ooh, I'll sew 6 of these and 4 of those, and just a few of those...".  No, Myrnie.  Remember?  Closet full of jars?  For Christmas presents?  Oh, right.  Simple.

Why am I fighting it?  Why do I feel like the simple things I have planned aren't enough to show our love and appreciation?  I still have more dolls to make, more beaded lovelies, more cookies, more packages to ship...why does it not feel like enough?

Regardless of all this, I'm making something special tonight, for you.  Something simple.  I hope you like it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beaded Pom Pom Ring

I've had this ring in my mind for a long time now, and finally had all the supplies on hand to make it!

I desperately need a hand model. (Dad, you don't remember this but when I was TEN you exclaimed "You have the hands of a 70-year-old woman!" It's so totally true.)

I think it's such a rad piece of hand bling- I love the weight, the sparkle, the movement. There are 32 head pins full of beads and attached to the ring form. I wish I could have fit more on there, but it was FULL!
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bending The Rules

Caught a great book signing this week- Amy Karol, author of Bend the Rules Sewing and Bend the Rules with Fabric, came to a book signing at The Quilt Loft in Seattle. That's driving distance! Plus, she was accompanied by the fabulous Miss Black Apple, Emily Martin. I was so stoked.

The Quilting Loft is tucked away in a cute part of the Seattle-area * known as Ballard, near Lake Washington.  I have never been in the presence of so many delicious, vibrant, designer fabrics.  (Overhearing a woman at the cutting counter laughing that she was going to spend over $300 on "this quilt" cured me of any serious designs, though!)

There was a good-sized line, and I joined the back.

I met Amy Karol!  She's darling.

I met Emily Martin, too!  She's so funny- after this picture was snapped she looked at the camera and said "Wonderful!  I look like a vampire."  It's a pretty common look in this area, I'm afraid.  (I love everything in her Etsy shop.  Everything.  I heard tell that a while back, she was the top selling Etsy-er.  Incredible!)

There were cookies from Amy, door prizes for a lucky few gals, and even old friends.  (I felt like such an interloper after finding out the people in front AND in back of me had known Amy for years.

Mom and Dad, thanks again for my birthday books!

Wonder Daddy, THANK YOU for taking solo duty for bed time!!

And Amy and Emily, thank you for coming out this way!

*You have to know that everything near Seattle is "Seattle Area."  There are no breaks between cities and towns.  You drive Seattle-Mercer Island-Bellevue-Issaquah-North Bend-Preston on I-90 before you find a real break.  And it's a mountain range.  So we have Eastside, with Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah.  South is Renton, Tacoma.  North is Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Snohomish County.  West...well, there's just West Seattle, because of the large OCEAN in the way :)  You better pay attention to your exit numbers in this area, because you'll never know when you reach a new town!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NaBloPoMo Recap

Well folks, it's December 1st.  I never really announced it, but I ran and finished the NaBloPoMo race this year- I posted every single stinkin' day in November.  (NaBloPoMo= National Blog Posting Month, a spoof on a yearly event called National Novel Writing Month.  They write a novel in a month.  Yes, they're insane.  In a good way.  But more so by the end of the month.)

So, how did it go?  Well, in October I posted 17 times.  In November I posted 30.  My page hits went down 1.44%.  My visitors went down.  My pages read went down.  My comments per post went down.  Pretty much everything went down except for my bounce rate (google analytics, I ask you:  What IS bounce rate?  Is it bad?  Considering mine went up, it's probably bad.)  but you know what...I had fun.  I'm in the habit of daily posting.  I've reminded myself that I enjoy writing.

And nobody really wants me to.  *grin*

As I've often heard said, I love ya more'n my luggage...and I'm going to go make something :)

PS- No, I didn't win a prize

An Announcement and a Warning

We all know that all phones are required to dial 911, even with no plan.  If it has battery power and can see a cell site, it WILL call 911.  Federal law.

Did you know that a key-locked phone will also call 911 if you hold down the 9 key?  Yes.  It will.  No, don't try it- Mimi's already done that for you.

The sheriff's office didn't think it was very funny when they called back!