Thursday, November 24, 2011

How NOT To Make An Advent Calender

Last Saturday Nate was sick in bed. I woke up wondering what I was going to do to entertain myself for the day. All of the sudden the most foreign thought hit me: I should make a craft today. What!?!?!? Did I hear my thought correctly. Did I really want to make a craft? I'm not sure I've ever had that desire, but it was there and I decided to follow through with it. I've been in the holiday mood lately and decided to make an advent calender. My mom has one that we hang on the wall every year that I used as an inspiration. I spent half the day on the phone with my mom making sure I was doing things right. Nonetheless, I managed to not do things right! Here are the four most important things I learned not to do:

1. Don't get lazy and not iron or pin the seam before sewing! I attempted to fold the top of the fabric over and sew it so there would be a place for the wooden dowel to go through. My laziness caused it to be so ridiculously crooked and bunched up that I finally just decided to cut the top off! Fortunately, I had left enough room that I could sew it again, correctly this time.
2. Don't buy a wooden dowel and then leave it at Hobby Lobby at the checkout stand! I know it only cost me $0.59 but I refuse to go back and buy another one.
3. Don't attempt to alternate red and green writing if you're going to get distracted and do two greens in a row!
4. Most importantly, don't make 32 pockets when there are only 24 days to count down to Christmas! I sewed 4 rows of pockets with the intention of making 6 pockets in each row but somehow got confused and made 8 pockets instead. I didn't discover my mistake until I was writing the numbers on the pockets. Good thing I have a great pair of fabric scissors! I ended up cutting off the bottom row of pockets. My calender ended up being several inches shorter than I originally intend due to my hack job on the top and bottom!

Despite my rookie mistakes, I think my advent calender actually turned out alright- especially for a craft from me. It was pretty simple too. I cut out a Christmas tree shape of green felt and sewed it on some white sparkly felt. Then I sewed the rows of pockets. Next, I poked some jingle bell brads in the tree to hang the ornaments on. My mom's calender has homemade felt ornaments with velco on the back but I knew I would never make 24 hand-cut ornaments so I figured out a way to hang some store-bought ornaments instead. Finally I used glitter glue to write the numbers on the pockets. Everything I bought was half off at Hobby Lobby, so I was pretty happy about that. Here is a picture of the semi-finished product. I need to get another dowel (ugh) and some ribbon to hang it. I also wanted to write Merry Christmas or Countdown to Christmas on it, but I'm not sure if I'll have enough room now that I've shortened it...

On a similar note I finally finished an apron that I started a year ago for Brianne's Christmas present. Just a little late.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A WICKED time in Nashville

For our anniversary this year in June, Nate bought me tickets to go see Wicked in Nashville, Tennessee. Ok, I actually got online and bought them myself but he told me I could :) Nashville is about a nine hour drive from Bentonville, so we decided to make a weekend out of it. After months of anticipation, our Nashville weekend finally arrived! We took Friday off from work and spent the majority of the day driving. We drove the back roads which took us a little longer but we wanted to do an experiment to see how good of gas mileage we could get with our new car. We averaged almost 50 mpg!!! We were very excited about that and actually ended up loving the drive because we were exploring the back woods of Arkansas and Tennessee. We saw probably 45 different "flea markets" along the way which generally consisted of two or three tables in someone's yard covered with junk from their homes. Basically, people just have year-round garage sales and paint a sign that says "Flea Market."

After seeing so many flea markets along the way, we found ourselves lucky enough to be in town for Tennessee's largest flea market of the year! What an exciting coincidence! When we found out it was only a couple miles from our hotel, we of course could not pass up the opportunity to attend. We scrapped our original plans for the day and hit the fairgrounds. When else would we have the chance to be a part of one of the Top 10 Flea Markets in the Nation?  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the flea market but let me tell you, this thing was huge! We walked around for a couple hours and didn't even come close to seeing everything. I was very excited about our purchase of 1400 count sheets for $25! We continued our treasure hunting for the day at Antique Archaeology, the store front for one of our favorite shows on the History Channel, American Pickers. We didn't buy anything but we went more to say we'd been there.

Nate was thrilled to touch an actual Picker van!
 Because our temple is about four hours from us, we generally try to include a session at the temple anytime we are on a trip to a city where there is a temple nearby. There is a temple in Franklin which is just outside of Nashville. I remembered my church clothes, temple clothes and recommend. Sounds like I was prepared and good to go right? Wrong! I forgot my dress shoes! I was ready to throw in the towel and cancel our temple trip but Nate was insisted that we were going so I better find something to wear. This is a picture of the result.

I thought the bright purple tennis shoes weren't conspicuous at all........
It's fair to say I was grateful and surprised they let me in the door!

The night of the show, we decided to make it a real date night with dinner and show. We found this little hole in the wall type Italian restaurant that was actually sooooooo good! There was no parking lot so we had to park at the gas station next door, and the restaurant building looked pretty shady but Nate and I agreed that it was the best Italian food either of us had ever had. After dinner came the main event: WICKED! It was my second time seeing it and Nate's first time. We both loved it! I would jump at the chance to go again someday.
Yes I'm wearing my bright purple tennis shoes with this outfit as well. I can always be counted on for classiness!