Friday, November 30, 2012

A Very Felted Christmas

I have been up to my nose in weddings the last few months. It's been a pleasant surprise to have so much unplanned business, but I'm soooooo ready to have downtime, get off my computer, and just breathe in the Holidays.

Speaking of Holidays... I did make a Bourbon Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving.
It went from this:

To this:

To this:

A happy pie, is a demolished pie!

Thanksgiving was lovely! We had all of my husband's family over to our house for good food and quality time. Aaaaaand we all took naps. Naps are one of the best indicators of a holiday, in my mind. Even the puppies napped, while I finished off my Felt Ball Garland. Rudolph dog! 

I felted all the wool several weeks ago, following this tutorial but hadn't had the time to string it. After a big meal and some chitchat on Turkey Day, I decided I was ready to see what the final product would look like. I used red & white baker's twine, and a completely random order for the different colors, and I'm in love with the result. Often I finish a Pinterest-inspired or a DIY craft project, and I hate it and want to trash it. This one, however, was lots of fun, and the final product was something I will enjoy getting out every year at Christmas for many years to come. 

After Thanksgiving was over, the hubs and I spontaneously decided to go get our tree. I've always wanted a "Charlie Brown" tree - one that was sorta scrawny and needing some love. This year I got my wish. We found the perfect little CBtree at the neighborhood tree farm.

This holiday has me very much infatuated with homemade-looking ornaments, and particularly felted creations. It's the Swedish craze.... Does anyone spot a certain polar bear ornament in there? In fact, there are several that I mentioned featured on my tree.

The best thing of all was this tree took me less than fifteen minutes to decorate (can't you tell), and I will probably change it multiple times before Christmas even arrives. But I love it.

Hope you're counting the days, right along with me!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hurry Up & Wait

So much of life here lately is happening on what I call "Hurry Up & Wait" time. Patience is not my greatest virtue, and sometimes I wonder if I was blessed with any amount at all. When I step back, and look at my whole life from a distance, it's easy to see that this inconsistent timing is always in play. We are always hurrying, always rushing, always planning and plotting, and then we almost always have to WAIT for everything to fall into place. The control we have over these situations is minimal at best, and mostly imaginary, in my opinion. But that doesn't stop us from trying.

Since May I've gone from status: job, to status: no job, to status: an almost overwhelming amount of wedding work all in a few short months. Of course, the months I sat around waiting for stuff to happen didn't seem short, but they were in retrospect. It's been amazing for me to watch the small bud of an idea I had a couple of years ago, finally begin to bloom overnight. What is sad to me now, is that I didn't have complete faith in myself until I saw actual, tangible proof: proof that this is what I'm supposed to be doing right now. I managed to wait, despite trying to hurry everything along, and now things have started falling into place.

This blog is mostly personal, but occasionally I like to talk about what I do for a living. For newcomers, that is planning weddings. A few years ago, I showed up at a friend's wedding as the designated "house party." This wedding had been planned pretty much perfectly, and I would expect nothing less of the Bride - she is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and a fellow type-A personality. (I mean that in the BEST way possible.) When this house partier arrived, my one duty suddenly and voluntarily turned in to many. I'm not claiming I saved the day, this wedding would have happened no matter what, but I saw a need and I dove right in. The DJ had questions about cues, the groomsmen were still working on their entrance, the caterer wanted to move this table from here to there. And after scrambling from one place to another, running messages from this party to that party, I claimed my seat - out of breath - and ready for everything to begin. My husband and good friend sharing my pew were staring at me. 

"This should be your job."

Those were the words, that started it all. As I sat there and watched two special people commit their lives to one another, I realized that my abhorrence of weddings was fading away. Weddings can be delightful. They are full of heightened emotion, big personalities, touching moments, and the best people watching ever. Weddings are an awful lot of Hurry Up & Wait, too. From a coordinating perspective, you're pulling hundreds of people and vendors and details all together for one momentous day. It's all about timing. It's all about knowing when to hurry and rush, and when to be patient and wait. And without fail, things will usually happen - one way or another - no matter how meticulously you plan them. So you have to be willing to accept change.

The lesson here for me is that I need to remind myself that in periods of "Hurry," there will always be periods of "Wait" just around the corner. I will have a chance to catch my breath, rest my feet, close my computer, before I need to "Hurry Up" again.

All things that are good shall be accomplished in time and style. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ornamental November

via Pinterest
Once upon a time, I used to be a total Grinch. Like people had to wake me up on Christmas morning afternoon, to open presents. I was that (un)excited about it.

These days I can't wait for the holidays. Mostly, because it marks colder weather, warmer clothes, and a less sweaty me. It also seems to be a time of year where my creative generator starts humming, and I get the desire to be very crafty. (I'll be sharing some of the craftiness I hope is coming, soon.) I do however, support Thanksgiving as stand alone holiday, and it does irritate me that it seems to get glossed over. Usually, I try to busy myself with giving thanks, rather than with being irritated, but I'm not always successful. I mean, who would want to skip my awesome Bourbon Pecan Pie. You wouldn't, trust me.

This year I'm just so excited about all the Christmas goodies that are out there that I can't help my eagerness to prep for decorating, and it's barely November! By goodies, I do mean the awesome decorations I am already seeing in my favorite stores. This is a once a year opportunity to decorate your house, but not have to worry about getting tired of anything you buy or put up, because it's going to come down in a month anyway. A decorator's heaven. 

In the meantime... I have to show you all my favorite Christmas ornaments I saw around town this week! The following were spotted at Anthropologie. Those people should seriously pay me to promote their products. I'm that serious about their overpriced clothing and home goods items. And now their holiday decorations. They could pay me in ornaments! Brilliant.

Recently, I've fallen in love with sea-faring themed "stuff." I'm loving the ships, whales, seahorses, and mermaids I'm seeing everywhere. This little ship was so cute and handmade looking, and I thought the whale would be a beautiful complimentary ornament for the tree.

I almost cried this polar bear was so cute. And then I saw his little polar bear tushy, and I did cry! Oh dear. As if that weren't enough... he's caught a fish, so he's not starving. This little bear doesn't survive on a diet of coca-cola alone. That, in and of itself, is refreshing. *pop* Ahhhh!

Then at West Elm I really hit the jack pot. I could have bought almost every single ornament in there. I'll spare you viewing what you could see on their website, but here are a few of my favorites that might show their faces on my tree this year.

These glass pine cones and acorns were so dainty and pretty. What a great way to add some traditional wintery nature to your tree, but in a fancy-schmancy, bright and shiny way! Those gold pinecones were also pretty, but I think I could make my own with pinecones left over from last year and some gold spray paint. *craft project*

On that same note, you could probably make this cute little twiggy star, as well, with sticks from your back yard and some baker's twine. They also have a version that acts as a tree topper. Super darling. And I love these gold and silver metal leaves for some bling.

Last year, my younger sister gave my mom, older sister, and me a different woodland animal ornament like the ones on the left. I got a hedgehog - my favorite! I guess they were so popular that stores are still carrying them this year, and I think I might just have to add to my collection! I loved this little fuzzy bunny and his sweet little smiling face. Handcrafted felt gets me every time, apparently.

Looking back, I'm seeing a trend - neutrals, animals, and gold shiny things. Sounds perfect to me!

What will you hang on your tree?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

LASIK - five months of new eyes

It's time for my 5 month update on the LASIK surgery I had at the beginning of June.

I had my 5 month exam on Monday, and the surgeon said I was "all healed up!" Sometimes I feel otherwise, but I guess she's refering to my "flaps." She looked at my actual eyeballs for . . . Oh . . . less than 10 seconds and pronounced me healed.

Here are the previous posts for recaps, if you're interested:

1. Pre-op thoughts
2. Post-op review
3. Two month followup

When I last updated, I had finished a round of steroid drops due to my TLS (transient light sensitivity) which apparently affects a large percentage of patients who have all-laser surgery (or blade-free). In addition, it is more common a side effect for women - aren't we lucky? Basically I would get waves of a blindly, burning, stinging sensation in my eyes and would, at times, weep uncontrollable in response. Not "boo-hooing" tears. My eyes would just leak. It wasn't necessarily always bright, blinding sunlight that triggered it. It was scary that this would often happen when I was driving with tinted windows and sunglasses on. Sometimes it happen just by the light of my bedside lamp.  The round of drops lasted 10 or 11 days.

For the duration of the steroid my eyes felt amazing and the issues I'd been having with dryness also disappeared. For about two weeks after the round of drops was completed, my eyes still felt great. Then the sensations returned, the weeping started again, and I was getting really irritated by it all. So I called for another appointment. This time she put me on the same type of steroid drop, but for a full month and a different dosage per day. I was just finishing the drops up when we went to Greece. I thankfully had no problems with my eyes on our trip!

It's been over a month now since I finished the second round of drops and, while I'm still slightly sensitive to very bright sunlight (but who isn't?), I haven't had any really terrible episodes. Sometimes my eyes get really tired from the computer screen or watching TV in the dark, but I realize I'm still healing. They aren't kidding when they say it can take up to a year for you to fully complete your recovery.

I can't remember who, but someone recently asked me if I would do it all over, now that I'm on the other side. I still can't really answer that. Now, of course, I know about the initial pain and the long-ish road of recovery that I completely did not expect and was unprepared for when I decided to have the surgery. So I know I would have felt much less confident if I'd had that knowledge beforehand, but I also think my expectations would have been massively different and perhaps more realistic. I'm glad to be on the other side though, and that same person also reminded me how awesome it is that I can see when I open my eyes in the morning. And yes, that part is definitely awesome.

My next appointment (one year) isn't for another 6-7 months. Hopefully I'll remember to update, but I don't plan anything that far in advance!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Virgin Voters

I exercised my rights yesterday. Did you?

Don't worry! I won't bore or ignite you with any of my political beliefs, and I do not think a my blog is the place for any of that. I'm old school. I sorta feel your politics should be your own business. And I don't want to alienate any of my friends.

I'm a romantic about these things, so for me it is somewhat more about the experience, than it is about the outcome - however wrong that might seem in your minds. I will say that I believe the next four years will come and go, probably much the same as they would have had the other guy won. Personal history, however, was made yesterday. I voted in person for the first time in a Presidential Election. The last two elections I've had to submit an absentee ballot, since I lived out of state. I voted for the first time electronically, and it was quick and easy! Also, I voted for the first time as a married woman. I had the charming benefit of being able to calmly discuss the candidates and their platforms with my husband. Possibly the best history made yesterday, was that the hubs voted for the first time ever, period. I was super glad I got to be a part of that. We walked down the street to the little church which was our polling place, and waited in line together. It was exciting. I loved seeing all the other people in line and wondering who they were voting for (in Austin it's a little less obvious than the rest of Texas).

And then I made him wear a sticker and let me take his picture for posterity.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Over the last week I've been considering the topic of DESTRUCTION. 

Several things happened:

ONE: I pulled out the entire contents of my closet to reorganize it and then got overwhelmed.

TWO: I decided that before I could put everything back in, I had to finally "get around to" peeling off all the ancient - and I do mean ancient - wallpaper, seal all the cracks, repaint the walls, add new shelving, sort through my clothes, unpack my winter items, pack up my summer items, and reorganize everything for accessibility.

THREE: I spent three days wishing I had never started destroying what was there to begin with.

My closet looks like Hurricane Sandy swept through.

We rent our home in Austin. However, we have gracious landlords who pay for any projects we're willing to do. Our home was built in the 1920's, so there are  LOT of projects that could be done. With my type-A personality, germaphobia, and revulsion of all things dirty, mildewed, and infested, I'm constantly finding projects and I just can't resist. The state of the closet has been hidden for over a year by my clothes, which got shoved in there when we moved. I was sort of scared to go all the way inside it, so I just jammed the storage bins in toward the back and tugged them out as needed. Finally, last Friday I got sick of digging for shoes, so I pulled everything out - literally hurled it all out of the closet, and what faced me was nothing short of scary. My clothes were homeless, but it was like I couldn't help myself. Once I got started, I had to finish. I had to systematically destruct the closet, before I could put it back together again.

And really . . . we are absurdly entertained by destroying things. 

JOY OF DESTRUCTION from Xaver Xylophon on Vimeo.

Remember Danielle's theraparty, where she got to do something she'd always wanted to do and break plates? Destruction can feel like therapy. It's risky and fun and a huge adrenaline rush. It's the clean up that I hate the most, but in the end you always feel so much better. It's human nature to destroy, but also to rebuild. You can't have one without the other.

And then there's the type of destruction we can't control. Like our pal, Sandy, who overnight hurled the contents of thousands of people's lives out into the street, and shook them upside down. Here in Texas we weren't really affected at all, so it's quite easy - as it is with any natural disaster - to feel oddly removed from the whole catastrophe, but we've all seen the pictures. Please don't think for a second that I'm comparing my minor closet disaster to the magnitude of Sandy's wake. We just both happend to self-destruct at the same time.

Now here's to rebuilding.