Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Beary Merry Christmas Introduction.

When I was 12 I was uncool.  I guess most of us are, but I had no illusions about how uncool I was.  I wouldn't have minded being cool, but since I wasn't, I did the incredibly uncool thing of convincing my mother to buy a fabric panel so I could make an advent calendar..  Then I sewed and decorated it.  It's things like this that tell me I've always been a slightly overweight 42 year old crafty lady. Thank god my parents fixed that gap between my teeth or I wouldn't have had anything.  

I hate the Beary Merry Christmas Advent calendar.  I loathe it.  I hate how badly my 12-year-old self constructed it, I hate how dorky it is (BEAR-y Merry!!!???) I hate how the bear who is looking for Christmas is the dumbest bear in the entire world.  That bear couldn't find his foot if he looked down. It's amazing he remembers to breathe in after he breathes out.
And yet I still put it up every year.  A couple of years ago I took photos of the whole thing, thinking I would make a post about it.  I never did.  But this year?  We're having a blog advent calendar.

But first.  Some close-ups. 

A bad pun.  Not even a good bad pun.  Just a bad one.

And it continues with the remaking of the month's name.

Each year I relive my shoddy glue gun technique.

And the very bad wreath I made. Although the glue gun threads are not as visible here.

Here is a great example of a bad seam finish.  Also note that I couldn't be bothered to change the thread as I sewed across the white-background bottom.  Sad to say, I'm still that lazy when I sew.
For each day in DecemBEAR, I will publish the corresponding square on the advent calendar.  Come along as the unnamed "He" looks everywhere but the first place someone would look for Christmas.

Christmas decorations: the boxes.

The Christmas decorations are the same from year to year and you've seen them, or can do a search to see them again.  So this year I'm going to focus on the boxes that hold the decorations.

This is the inside of the box that holds the ornaments.  On the bottom is glitter, and bits of broken ornaments.
The box is from my mom's Elementary school (it originally held perma-bound books) and has my mom's handwriting on it.  The paper towels used to wrap the ornaments are from probably the late 80s, early 90s.  They have Christmas decorations on them and are red and green.

The only ornament that gets a special container is the one my grandmother made for my second Christmas.  That's her handwriting on top of a See's candy Fancy Mixed Nuts container.

You can see why this very special ornament gets its own container.

I bought this postal mailing tube to hold the advent calendar my mother made. 
I roll it up to store, along with the many ornaments.

I can no longer remember what was in this box originally, but I'm pretty sure Matt's mother sent it to him filled with little bits of holiday food items.

It holds the marshmallow nativity scene and instead of packing in in paper towels, I use newspaper delivery bags.

This plastic guy holds the lighted garland that the ornaments hang on each year.  I really, really appreciate this piece of plastic as it keeps the garland perfectly wrapped.

If you tilt your head to the left, you can see this is a vintage Meier and Frank box, from (I would guess) the late 60s.  It holds the Beary Merry Christmas Advent Calendar (post on that coming right up).

And this (upside down and not at all square) photo is of the box that holds the Christmas Tree.  I really appreciate how everything has its place.  However, the plastic is starting to go and I'm guessing this has only a few more years before I have to find something else.

Not pictured?  The two brown paper grocery sacks I use to hold the outdoor lights.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

10 down 1 to go! Finished (Finnished?) Swedish Shade!

Finally, the Lined Swedish Shade is in place.
It did not go gently into that good night.  I had some trouble with screwing the screws through the fabric ties.  If I had made leather ties, it would have been a lot easier on me.  Then I threaded the cord wrong and only discovered that after I had cut it.  This was okay as I didn't really like the cord.  I replaced it with jute twine, which is not perfect, but which will do for now.  Then I had some trouble getting the screws to go in the holes I had drilled in the door.  But other than that, it was fine.  (Although it's just the tiniest bit askew.  Just like the one in Matt's room.)

There is an excess of the bird curtain, I apparently didn't make the shade flat. I worry that eventually the bird  curtain will be overly wrinkled from spending the day in the rolled position.  But I guess I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

In the rolled position.

I still need to get and install a cleat to wrap the cord around.  I'm glad I waited because the size I would have bought would have been too small.  Right now I'm just draping the excess cord around the door handle and hoping the cats don't get too interested.

I also didn't have a drapery pull, so I used this old button instead.

In my excitement to complete this project this summer, I purchased a curtain rod for the curtains I've yet to make.  Since I had the drill out anyway, I went ahead and installed it.  
This is the before picture, with Sentinel, my trusty helper assisting.


I had dreams of pulling the curtains open and having the curtain rod extend far enough so the whole window would be visible. I thought my curtain rod would extend far enough, but no.  It did not.  So the right and left brackets were moved inward.

Completed curtain rod, just waiting for curtains.

You, blind #11, are the last man standing.  But your days are numbered.
Notice the bent slats from where Antares pushes through when he wants to see out the window at night.

Close-up of bird on the left side of the curtain rod.  Also pictured:  the holes that I now need to patch from my first installation attempt.

Bird on the right-hand side.

I'm very excited to finish this project!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Peace and harmony in the pantry area.

I took everything off the shelves, washed down them down, sorted and reorganized and now peace is at hand.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Game that begins with O

That would be the start of Order of the Stick.  Matt won.  We are halfway through the games!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Z to A games. All the "P" games in one night.

There are only three.  We began with Poo.  Matt won.

We moved on to Poker, where I discovered I am much better than Matt.  I won.
He's not much of a gambler.

For most of the game I had a progressively larger pile of his chips.  We finally set a timer to and declared the person with the most chips when the timer went off the winner.

And here is my winning hand.

We moved on to Pirate Fluxx

Matt played the "talk like a pirate" card, mostly to annoy me.  I countered by talking like a pirate's pet crow (Caw, Caw!) while Matt hurt his vocal cords saying too much "arrrrrgggggh"
He won the game.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Last bits of Grand Lodge

The wedding that was beginning as we started our self-guided tour kept going into the night.  The next morning I was amused to see "Wedding Aftermath" outside of the Bridal Suite.

Matt poses for another dog statue photo.

We stayed in the John Porter room.  Mr. Porter planted sequoias all over Forest Grove.

Detail on our closet door.

Verbiage of Mr. Porter's story.

Both Matt and I completed four experiences and each received a $20.00 gift card.  I bought some Pear Brandy to take home.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tour of Grand Lodge

We took the self-guided walking tour and had a great time.  At one point, the front desk guy saw us walking around with our guidebooks and said, "We should hire you guys."  That's us. Nerdy walking tour people. 
As we were getting started, people were assembling for a wedding that was taking place upstairs.  Not everyone had picked up their boutonniere.

Grand Lodge, as mentioned before, was a Masonic retirement home until 1999, when the Masons built a more modern retirement facility behind the original, and sold Grand Lodge to McMenamins.  A year later the hotel opened for business.  This makes it different from Edgefield, which was abandoned and dilapidated for a long time before the company bought and refurbished it.  This building was in good shape.

Really awesome mosaic tiling, to go with the excellent original tile floors.

Matt becomes the dog, which is a greeter from the main entrance.

Masonic detail on the fireplace.

Quote from one of the sitting rooms.

Really beautiful picture.  The art was chosen to reflect the history and the community, including Forest Grove's large Hispanic community.

Pictures of orphans playing in the snow.  One of them is wearing striped socks that appear in a painting painted for the site.

The rooms all have names.  I enjoyed that this one was called Mike's Light Bulb Room.

Art detail on the electrical panel.

Fabulous picture of Richard Nixon visiting Pacific University.  One of the Fraternity Brothers managed to sneak the Pacific University mascot into the photo.

Ad to support the effort of building of the home.

I loved this picture of some of the last residents.

Another of the sitting rooms.

The lady painted on this door is a portrait of a ghost one of the artists saw while working.  It's a very true-to-life (true-to-ghost?) portrait, scaring me a few times as I glanced down the hallway.

The back porches of the Grand Lodge had slides to make it easier for residents to escape in case of fire.  Here's a fantastical painting of them in use.  Which I don't think they ever were.

Photo of the Mozart Room, where we spent some of our time.

This painting is a portrait of a resident who was a photographer in World War II.

Another favorite room name:  Pioneer Japanese Students.

More excellent mosaic and an early trapper.

I liked this portrait of a dog.

And liked even better the poem that went with it.

The entire downstairs was a mosaic frenzy.  I wondered how long it took the artists to complete the mosaics.

Beautiful detail added to the pipes.

Matt reads the last of his tour, while leaning against a mosaic.

We enjoyed our walking tour.