It was such an honor, when Karin first asked me to be a guest blogger on this site. In “real life” I am a 47 year old wife to Daren of 23 years and a mommy of four to Alex who is 22, Courtney who is 20, Blake 16 and Tyler 14. I own my own insurance agency and I split my time between “kid stuff” and work in my community of Seal Beach, California.
I love the little details that transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. There are so many things I have done over the years, and my first draft of this blog chronicled them. However, I just couldn’t get myself to forward the post to Karin because after reading and possibly obsessing over it, I couldn’t get over how “nice” it was, but not necessarily reflective of anything I had done recently. 2017 has been my year to live more authentically and share more of me than highlights of my life, so a post of things I did five and ten years ago didn’t quite meet the benchmark of authenticity I’ve been trying to achieve. The truth is, I LOVE this stuff. I mean, did you see Karin’s socks? And the cakes from Leisa Rayven? OMG. The cross-stitching? Wow. I’ve knitted and crocheted, but never to the level those socks are. I mean, do you even wear those? .
It amazes me that I’ve let so much time go by since I’ve done things like this on a regular basis, and frankly, I’m a little sad about it. It’s not about not having time, so many people are busy like I am, it’s about making the time. I know this because I have girlfriends, both of whom laughed at/with me when I said I was going to be a guest blogger on this site, manage it much better than I have. They do things to the caliber of everything else on this site. Caroline, who became my best friend in college far more successful and busy than I, takes weekends and makes the most amazing scrapbooks while spending time with her girlfriends. It my own fault that haven’t gone in about eight years due to scheduling conflicts. To this day, my kids all-time favorite photo album remains to be one she made our family when we lived in Mississippi. Francine, who is a true professional seamstress can sew anything from hemming my husbands pants to ball gowns.
Our kids are in show choir at Los Alamitos High School, and she volunteers her time and will sew over 2000 costume pieces. Each have full lives and make the time to share themselves through their own designs. Far too much time has gone by since I fed this part of my soul.
I’m okay with not being at the caliber of so many of you reading this. It’s not like I haven’t been doing anything for the last ten or so years, I’ve been “crafting” my kids and involved in their stuff. I’m still BRILLIANT adding glitter to anything and “my kids” had some incredible projects during this time. (Yes, I’m THAT mom.) The things I can to with a spreadsheet are, well probably only sexy to me. These days I’ve been entranced in the show choir world where I became a backstage mom. I’m fairly certain that gaff-taping is not a crafting category in anyone else’s world, but when you have a football-player-shaped boy put in slim cut dress pants doing intense dance moves on stage, something is going to give, and it’s usually the inside seam. I practically earned a degree in pinning crotches and then taping the inside of the pants so the show can go on. It seems reasonable until you realize this 14-18 year old boy is expected to drop his pants in front of a 40-something mother who is sitting in front of him safety pinning, inside of his crotch. (Pants stay on due to time constraints.) Yep, fun times.
But thing is, they are fun times. I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve spent with my kids for anything. I’ve had the honor in sharing in their lives which resulted in less me-time and that’s okay. The beauty of being a little “older” these days and my conscious effort to be more authentic, is being comfortable in knowing that I’m a usually hot mess on a good day. Like so many women I know, I take on way too much. We work hard all day, are present for the overscheduled kid activities and then still come home to, “What’s for dinner?” The laundry, dishes and toilet-cleaning fairy must believing in the lap of luxury at someone else’s home, because she doesn’t visit mine at all. We are creatures of our own making (at least I am). We put everyone else’s needs before our own and we do it without a second thought or hesitation. I think that’s why this blog is so critical, it reminded me that the stuff I used to do for me, that was set aside, is still there and gorgeous people like Karin and everyone else on this blog are taking the time to create these amazing things. It’s important.
I did promise Karin I’d do pictures of the things I’ve been doing, which unsurprisingly are very kid-centric. I’ve done balloon arches and columns for events and graduations, they’re very simple and a fun way to decorate. This is the only picture I could find, but I’ve done them for years (clearly). A four-balloon arch looks spectacular, but is relatively easy to create. It is simply a series of stacked balloon quads attached to heavy duty monofilament string (fishing line). In this case, the elementary school’s colors were red and black and their mascot was a leopard. Great points to remember about creating an arch is the balloons should all be the same size. Tie two balloons together. I place these tied two balloons between my legs and repeat the process with two more balloons. It’s important to remember that if you like the look of the spiral with different colors, you need to have those colors in every quad in the same sequence. Once the second set of two balloons are tied together, I twist the four around each other, forming my desired quad. I wrap the monofilament string around two of the balloons in the quad. The next quad will nest in the the first ones, gentle push down on the first quad when wrapping the monofilament around the second quad, ensuring it’s taught. From here, it’s just rinse and repeat until the arch or column reach their desired length.
We tend to have the house kids come to and because of that we have a lot of graduations/promotions this time of year. I really don’t like giving cash, I began making money leis several years ago. Again, not having much time, I tend to keep things easy, and it doesn’t get easier than this.
You take dollar bills or any denomination you want and fan fold down the length of the bill longwise and simply tie either ribbon or string in the middle of the bill. Do this over and over with each bill you have. Fan out the bill, creating a circle (or flower) and tie the bills in between the flowers of a pre-made lei. I used the silk flower leis with the straw separators in the color preference of either the school or graduate’s choice. There is a difference in newer bills versus older bills in the way it lays. Newer bills give a more ridged (and in my husband’s opinion) more masculine look. I actually prefer more well used bills that I can manipulate and make more pliable which mimics a petal look better, in my opinion. I’ve done so many of the years, that I wished I remembered to take more pictures. I think most schools in the mid-west and east coast are out of school now, but we’re in the middle of graduation season here. This is a great activity while binging on Netflix.
I love to read, but like my crafting I don’t read for myself, as often as I would like. The Purple Cow by Seth Godin is currently on my night table. I love his insights into business and what sets one business apart from another. I also still read fan-fiction. I love when people put their take on a story out in the universe, making that corner of it theirs, but often with the internet based reading, lately I’ve been creating audio files on Voice Dream and listening rather than reading them. Voice Dream makes it easier to work out or even work to.
I’ve had Erica Johansen’s, Queen of the Tearling on my to-be-read list for far too long and I plan on reading that this summer. I like YA books when I’m just reading for me.
Thanks Karin for thinking of me. I am a person who believes there is a reason and purpose for everything, and just like so many years ago when you first came into my life, you have brought me blessings and parts of myself. This blog is truly special and so are you.