Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Now, Before we Learn How to Build the Latest in Extreme Graphic Chipset Processors, Let's Recite the Code of the Elves, Shall We?

I love how Drek's family does Christmas presents. The focus is always on the thought; not on the money. They draw names and the point it to give a thoughtful gift, not an expensive gift. Usually, the presents need to be homemade to emphasize thought over price. 

This year the gift needed to be an ornament. My sister-in-law came over last night and presented us with our gifts: 

A Christmas card holder she made: 

And little baby Jesus ornaments made out of nut shells and cloth. This picture isn't very good, but trust me, they are DARLING.

She is so creative. 

Anyway, back in November I was told I needed to ornaments for my in-laws. I loved this idea in theory, but soon I remembered a vital fact: I am not a craft a person. AT ALL. 

Remember how to years ago my brilliant idea for a a homemade gift was to make a hat and a scarf? And I worked on it for two months before giving up and handing it over to Krisling who finished it in five minutes? 

Remember how last year I tried to paint a board for my niece and failed miserably, so I had to go out to Toys R Us on a night in December to buy a last minute gift? 

So, just in case I am tempted next year to do the same thing this year: DON'T DO IT, K LA! It doesn't matter how easy Pintest makes it look, you will FAIL! 

This year I decided to collect sea shells from the beach, glue pictures inside and ribbons on top and call them Christmas ornaments. Alas, after two trips to the beach, we decided large or even medium size seashells were not "in season." We couldn't even find one and we needed six. 

On to Plan B: Buying shatter-proof clear plastic ornaments, glue the pictures to a sparkling ocean-blue glitter paper and put it inside. Add sand and tiny seashells. 
Alas, I could not find the plastic ornaments that came apart, only the ones with the removable top: There was no way to get a picture inside. 

Plan C: I returned to the craft store, bought ocean blue glitter glue, returned the ocean blue glitter paper, and spent twenty minutes arguing with the clerk who would not give me the eighty cents in change because I didn't have my driver's licence with me. 
Still, I returned home optomistic: I would write the names on the outside of the ornament in the glitter glue and fill it with sand and seashells. The name-writing went great, but the sand I got turned out to be more pebbles than sand. I decided to return to the beach. 
Three trips later, I still hadn't found the fine white sand I envisioned, so I gave up and went with fine gray sand. Not as pretty, but it would work. Alas, the seashells wouldn't stay on top of the sand, so instead of a picturesque beach snow-globe, it looked more like a ball filled with gray sand. 

Plan D: okay, start from scratch: look for ideas on Pintrest. I found a very easy-looking recipe that made Christmas smelling ornaments. The recipe only required cinnamon, elmer's glue and applesauce. It's supposed to smell wonderful, even years later. And since it looked more like baking than crafting, I decided it couldn't fail! I borrowed Christmas cookie-cutters, bought the ingredients and set to work! 
The dough was not turning into dough, so I added flour. Then more flour, than more flour. When it finally looked more like dough and less like pudding, I rolled it out in between two pieces of parchment paper. Pintrest said the top piece of paper should peel right off, and then I just had to cookie-cutter the dough and bake! 
No. Very No. The dough was way too sticky and still too liquid. I tried to peel off the top, but it just stuck together and created a mess. Exasperated I threw the whole thing a way. "Let's just buy them a nativity set," I told Drek. "No, no!" he replied. "I still like the sand-ornament idea." 

Plan E: Let Drek do it. He poured glue into the balls of sand, and then sprinkled the seashells on top. This worked great, except for some reason the glue created condensation which made the glitter-glue fall off. "Hey, I have an idea." he said. "Let's just buy them a nativity set." 

Plan F: Buy a nativity set. 

But a lot of thought went into that store-bought nativity set.


  1. Next thought: after the glue dries, simply redo the names in glitter glue.

    You won't get fine white sand in you state; the ocean is wrong for that. You need gulf coast for that...or buy it in a craft store.

    Maybe you should make those popsicle-stick yarn things we did in grade school, only use pretty shimmery yarn or string. I bet that would be pretty! Hmmm...you may just be seeing them on my blog one of these days.

  2. Loved this post! First of all, my eldest sister's craftiness puts us all to shame, and secondly, I thought ornaments would be a great idea for an easy craft, but I spent waaaaay too much time on an ornament that ended up looking like Sammy could have made it (and she did help me). I went to two different Targets, Joanns twice and Michaels twice. But at least it's done. Maybe next year we should skip the thoughtful present and just write a thoughtful letter to our chosen family. Writing is so much easier...

  3. Bahaahahahahahhaa. This may be the best thing I have ever read.

  4. LOL call me for crafting aid anytime, girl!

  5. Also, this may be a silly question, but did you try rolling the paper onto a pencil and poking it into the ornament and letting it unfurl?

  6. I bet it's a beautiful nativity set! Btw I'm not crafty either. :)

  7. Hee hee hee...this post is amazing. I love it.

  8. Yeah, rolling up the picture and sticking it in the top and then letting it uncurl inside the ornament probably would have worked. Redoing the names in glitter glue after the condensation dried out probably would have worked too. But nativity sets are always lovely presents, in my opinion. :)

  9. See what I made. It should be still sitting on the piano since I did not have any string to hang on the tree. Go to walmart, and get ribbons, pins, strong glue and Styrofoam ball, and then you can make a Christmas Ornament easily:)


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