Friday, December 19, 2014

Went to an Ugly Sweater Party

We got invited, almost at last minute, to an ugly sweater party tonight. My husband thought we could just go and not have ugly sweaters. I said no way. We have to at least try!

After work today (thank God it was a short day!), I ran over to Thrift Store USA. They didn't have any adult Christmas sweaters, but I was able to find two red sweaters, One is a Winnie the Pooh fleece pullover for me, and the other was from Denim and Co. Don't tell my husband, but he was wearing a woman's zip up sweater and didn't know it! :) That one already came with the white collar, so it was a must buy.

The decorations came from the Dollar Tree, the cupcake buttons on the cuffs of the pullover came from my mom's stash, and the cheapo gold snowflakes actually came from the thrift store bag I was going to donate.  They were part a larger set of Christmas ornaments we bought to keep Orion from destroying our good ornaments. My husband didn't want them because of...all...the...GLITTER!!! You should see the inside of my car! :)

I put garland and bows around the fleece hood and the kangaroo pocket; snowflakes on the front and back, and the cupcake buttons, of course.

My husband wanted the lights on his sweater, so I just whip stitched them to the front of the sweater. There were plastic candy ornaments on the collar, garland and round ornaments around his arms and shoulders, and just for fun, a pickle ornament became his zipper pull. Plus, there was the large star on his back. That star, like the snowflake ornaments, were stitched on and look a little wonky. Because it was an ugly sweater contest, I had to fight the urge to fix and center them all.

"A lot of families in Richmond and her surrounding Counties have known of the tradition for years and years. It is obviously a true Southern tradition and it indirectly started here in Richmond. It is the Legend of the Christmas Pickle.

"In the tradition, an adult hides a pickle-shaped ornament in the boughs of the tree after it is decorated. On Christmas morning, the children search the limbs of the tree, trying to be the first to find the pickle. The one that does find the ornament gets an extra present, or, as in years past, a healthy and happy year."

My husband was surprised that I was "going to all that trouble" and was so competitive. I just didn't want to go without suitably ugly sweaters. And I didn't expect there to be actual voting.

Only two other people at the party had homemade ugly sweaters. Well, it was one ugly sweater and one ugly long sleeved t-shirt. My husband's sweater was pretty popular but in the end, it was the host's ugly long sleeved sweater that won.

The prize of the night was actually a bottle of wine anyway, so I was glad I didn't win. I might have 2-3 drinks a year, because I don't care much for alcohol. It bums me out that alcohol is an appropriate gift or prize, especially around the holidays. I personally would have been happy with some cornball winner's certificate or some dollar store prize.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Did a Repaint on Santa

Last year, way back in December of 2013, I was at my local Walgreens, a place I shouldn't be allowed to go into by myself from Oct. 1-Dec. 31. The reason: I buy a lot of holiday shit when I'm left unattended.

Case in point, this indoor Santa statue with working streetlight.

I'd had my eye on this guy for about a week. I don't really know why I was drawn to him, other than I think I have a thing for Santa statues. Seriously, along with this guy, I bought a beach Santa statue and a light up Santa canvas print in one season. I need Santas Anonymous or something.

Anyway, as soon as I decided to buy him, because you know, no one else was decent enough to buy out my Walgreens' inventory of Santa statues for me, I knew I'd have to repaint him. Shit, he was even on sale for half price! I had to bring him home with me!

Once you start looking at him, he starts to look like he has a messy machine paint job, if that makes any sense. All that white trim, white hair and white beard just blobs together. His red suit is flat looking with a messy, dirty looking attempt to create depths in the shadows of the fabric.

After priming him really well, I tried to start out with some nice bright Testor's model car paints again.

No dice.

For some reason, those paints, even after having the containers shook vigorously, went on thin and watery. The color just wasn't there.

Luckily for me, my A.C, Moore was having a sale on the "My Studio" line of craft paints: 2 for $1.00!! It was time to stock up and try something else.

Here is Santa after his paint job. I kept him black, because to me, the white Santa statues just aren't that attractive. They are always PINK, like they've been boiled or something, with bright red noses and cheeks. White Santa's tend to look like they've been slapped.

It's a lot of paint layering here. I did about five coats of red for his suit, because it wasn't coming out even. I originally wanted him to have a burgundy suit with cream trim, but I couldn't find the right shade of paint. When only his suit was painted, it looked extremely RED. However, by making all of his trim cream, it toned down the red and seemed to give it a slight orange tone to it, which I ended up liking.
I am a little disappointed in his face. It seems fairly blank, but I did find out that his right eye has a slight dip to it that was less apparent with his original paint job. I did try at one point to give him rosy cheeks and a pink, chilly nose, but that was really bad looking. Santa looked like he had eczema or some other skin condition. I had to wipe his face clean and start all over again.

I especially like how his base turned out, and I wasn't trying for this effect. After painting two layers of white for the snow's base, I brushed on some white Elmer's glue and then shook on a good layer of glitter (left over from my TARDIS in the snow jar project). I gave it 24 hours to dry and then clear coated it. While the clear was still wet, I shook on more glitter, and then repeated it again in another 24 hours. Then, I gave it one last clear coat. This makes it look like Santa's walking through the ice packed snow.
My Santa is kind of heavy with the brown paint: boots, belt, satchel, teddy bear, hell, even his face. But I didn't want to give him black boots because that light pole is all black. I thought his boots would get lost next to the pole if they were all black. And I broke up the flatness of the belt by giving it bronze trim so it wouldn't get lost with his satchel's strap.

I'm not necessarily a fan of shiny paint jobs, like what Santa has going on here, but since I'm working with just craft paint, I want to protect the finished project as much as I can.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Card Fun

I am either a dork or an idiot. Either way, I'm doing this for Christmas this year:

I'm going to pick a random address from a phone book listing somewhere online, write out this same card, sign my card as being from Francine, and mailing it off tomorrow.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Roasted Potatoes with Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic

We've been so busy lately, that several of our suppers lately have been on the run and I'm getting tired of it. My husband found this recipe online earlier this evening and decided he wanted us to make it with our grilled chicken tonight (I insisted on staying home for supper so we could cook).

  • 2 pounds of red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon  chopped fresh rosemary
  • At my husband's request...we added frozen corn to the mix and it turns out, this really needed the corn! :) I think we added half a bag.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a prepared baking dish, toss the potatoes, tomatoes, basil, garlic and corn with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the rosemary.

Bake 20-30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender.

I have to say, even 45 minutes wasn't long enough to roast the potatoes until they were soft. This was really good recipe but the cooking time needs to be adjusted, and we don't have an old stove.

I think the next time, I'll cook the potatoes with the olive oil for about 35-40 minutes, and then add everything else, and then cook for another 20 minutes. Then I'll start checking for tenderness then. At 45 minutes, my potatoes were still just a touch firm but the corn was starting to get to the overcooked/mushy level.