Crafts and Mexico Visit and the Garden in December

Okay, where to start. Maybe  Thanksgiving makes sense.

We went out of town for Thanksgiving, which was fun- but a definite high point was getting to go to Mexico for an afternoon with my husband and his brother and my sister in law. (brother and sister in law? Husband’s brother and wife? How to freaking write that out correctly… feel like there is a more succinct way to write that but it escapes me.)

Yeah. Those weren’t the first beers or margaritas. But boy oh boy did we have fun.

My favorite part of all Mexico trips is being able to look back at the progression in purchases from reasonable to unreasonable as the trip wears on and the drinks add up.

Literally my husband said (after the 4th margarita he and his brother were brought- on the house from the kind waiter- that everyone looked at with horror because those things are damned strong) “Alright well, let’s go make some poor decisions!” He meant the shopping choices- not like, back alley pharmaceuticals or wondering loudly which cartel has more balls. I stuck to micheladas and beer because someone has to drive home and tequila and I have never been friends.

High point this year was the 3′ embroidered wall hanging of a turkey my sister-in-law got me for an early Christmas gift.

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Let me make three things very clear: 1- this was a gift. 2- Words can’t express how much I truly love it; I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw it, it’s the most wonderfully random thing and will be hanging up every November from here on out as a Thanksgiving decoration. And 3- this was a gift.

I actually was really happy with everything I got except an embroidered shirt… going to have to take that one in a bit as it’s much too big. Did I beer googles myself in that shirt? Because I think that may have been what happened.

My favorite purchases are two Mexican hearts- one tin and one wooden with milagros. Milagros are small tin charms- with a kinda complex history and use. Can be quasi summed up in they have religious and/or protective and/or luck connotations. This one has among the milagros a right arm and right hand (my right wrist has been bothering me lately) a cat (my poor Wally is really feeling his age), a young girl, a head (no more cluster headaches for the husband ever please, milagro), etc. I just really loved it. I personally LOVE throwing myself down wormholes on Mexican folk art, so can go into it more in another post if anyone is interested. One last thing though- the symbology  of the flame on top of the hearts is to symbolize the sacred heart of God. I so love the tin one as well. (That flame shape! Those colors!)

The worry here is that if people see them in my house that they assume I collect them and then I get inundated with a bunch of them. (That happened back in the day with the alebrije deer I have.) On the things I collect I’m SUPER discriminating- I don’t love all Mexican hearts… I love THESE Mexican hearts, you know? It’s made me more careful when I give gifts to people who collect a certain thing, honestly.

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Which swatch of nearly identical  paint should we paint our bedroom? I’m thinking Paperwhite. I know it’s barely different from the existing paint, but swear it will make a huge difference in the room- we’re adamant about banishing all the beige, I swear to god! (Don’t mind the casual almost blasphemy, Sacred Hearts- you’ll get used to)

Holy crap is this going to be a long post- okay! On too… the latest craft fair and ice dying!

The craft fair we do in our neighborhood with our talented, mostly all retired neighbors was this Friday. I FURIOUSLY knocked out some more ice dyed scarves because the bottle crafts I had been planning to do over the summer was a bust because turns out I’m a huge weenie about breaking glass. Live and learn.

Here are the last batches getting done.
Here’s how those orange ones in the colander turned out- also, check out that ripped up back yard, will tell you about it in a sec.
Here’s how the top ones in the dish strainer in the picture above turned out. REALLY feeling like I’ve hit my stride on these, the colors are way more vibrant than the first year I was doing them. (Will do a separate post about ice dying soon)

And here are our tables at the craft fair:

This is the ten year old’s crafts: she glues pom poms in acorn caps and makes garlands and ornaments out of them.
Here is my thirteen year old’s table with her prints of some pop art birds she made as well as the plates for the lollipops they both made (one of our neighbor’s taught them about candy making this year). Also can be seen my scarves in the background. It is still nice enough weather for this to be an outside event ’round these parts and to put the candy out at the very last minute so it doesn’t melt.

This was by far the busiest show yet- the girls sold out of all the candy (both chocolate and hard candy lollipop in various Christmas shapes), all the acorn crafts, and I sold all my scarves. Heck, I even took the one I was wearing off and hung it up to sell!

And the best thing about it is the girls so enjoy doing it and that they get to interact with a ton of adults who are very talented and nice. The neighbor who taught them candy making this year does sewed purses and wallets for the show, there is a potter, someone who candies jalepenos and does macrame, a knitter, a photographer, a lady who does beadwork, etc. I feel it’s good for them to know people with such varied talents and hobbies.

The lady who does beadwork (Marie) does mostly jewelry but also these Christmas spider ornaments that I absolutely cannot resist. The story of the Christmas spiders is an eastern European one {most closely linked to Ukraine} about a poor widow who couldn’t afford to decorate her tree for her children. On Christmas Eve the spiders came out and covered the tree with silk, so when the widow and her children woke up the tree was decorated with the silk shining gold and silver in the first rays of the sun- thus was the tradition of tinsel started. I have a pink one for the Christmas tree- but this one lives at my desk year round.

It is officially a “sip and shop” so there are snacks and wine- of which I had only 3 small glasses over 4 hours and didn’t have any angst about how much I imbibed this year, so that’s a nice change. I’m finding the whole therapy thing is helping with more mindful choices in my life… yet ANOTHER full post for another time on an update on therapy- coming soon. But I will just say here: 10/10, would highly recommend.

Oh my lord, such a long post. And on too… the garden and ripped up backyard!!!

My Chinese Lantern hibiscus bloomed! Bought this one as a cutting on Ebay after seeing one on another blog. I THINK it was on Tina’s blog: My Gardner Says…, but I’m not 100% there. (Either way it’s a quality gardening blog though, should you want to check it out)

And it may still be teeshirt weather, but the plants know it’s Fall and are putting on a show:

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My husband’s Osakasuki Japanese Maple putting on a show- it’s an old variety from over 100 years ago.

And the color on these blackberry vines gets me every time:

So pretty!

And, as seen in the background in the ice dying shots, my dad brought over his excavator and my husband has been prepping the backyard for the brick patio installation. All the planting beds are still there- the only thing ripped up is the open ground. Though we will actually be uprooting and replanting most of the beds as well, we’re bringing in a few truckloads of dirt to raise those beds and improve drainage. Damn the clay on this side of town!

Bye-bye, grass
My favorite picture of the backyard work: such intent concentration with a 4 year old with an ice cream cone along for the ride

As I may have mentioned a few times, we’ve been collecting Texas made antique bricks for the patio- which this shot of the collected pile will show a bit of the look we’re going for:

Can’t wait to see the finished patio- there will be yet ANOTHER full post about the interesting things we’ve learned about Texas antique bricks and the patio install soon!

And we’ll wrap up on this slightly pissed off picture of my cat Wallace (Wally).

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The resting bitch face is strong with this one but I swear to god he’s the very sweetest cat. Like owner like pet, they say…

He’s 14 and a half now, and lately just really seems to be showing his age. So recently, when I wake up all sweaty and gasping for air in the middle of the night because he’s decide to curl his 14 pound self up on my chest, I won’t shove him ungracefully off but will spend a few minutes cuddling before moving him to the side instead of him getting shoved to the floor. I read a poem once about the love for our pets stretching a place in our hearts for their memories… and lately, with him, that seems all just a little closer. May he have at least a few more years even if he’s slowing down. But if not, well, he’s got a nice big spot in my heart ready for him.

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