Married to the Empire

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thrift Store Gift

Do you remember this?

I bought that brand-new Le Creuset pot at a thrift store for a mere $11. I'd bought it with the intention of using it for myself, but the things I wanted to make in it were too much for its 2-quart capacity. It sat for a while in my kitchen.

Fast forward a bit, and my husband asked for only one thing for Christmas: an X-box 360. Those aren't cheap, even with a discount from a friend who works at Microsoft. It's also more than I'd intended to spend on his Christmas gift.

But there was still that Le Creuset pot sitting in my kitchen.

I wound up selling it on Ebay. I paid $11 for it. I sold it for $189.

My husband is going to have a very nice Christmas thanks to my amazing thrift store find.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Super Cute Apron

On Thanksgiving morning (why, yes, this post is extremely late!), my friend Michelle stopped by to give me a gift to help me out with my first Thanksgiving at my house. She gave me the cutest apron ever. I had to model it for the camera.

Just my colors in black and white, trimmed in pink, and a big pink A embroidered on the pocket! I wore it all day, and Steven kept looking at me, shaking his head, and saying, "You look like a happy little housewife!" It wasn't said in a positive tone. I took offense and said, "Well, I am a happy housewife!" I guess he thought it made me look a little too domestic and Stepford-ish. But maybe it was just the blissful look on my face because I knew I looked darned cute in the thing!

The next photo is my threatening the cats with their lives if they dared to jump onto my set table. (You can see that Doogie, who is generally our good boy, was listening attentively. Calvin, our resident Punk Cat, was turned away and pretending I wasn't talking to him.) Thankfully, they took me seriously and decided to be very good boys that day. Well, until late that night when I set about deboning the turkey. They were acting so dramatically starved that I had to have Steven lock them up in the bathroom while I finished my work.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stormtroopers on Parade

The 501st Legion was in the Capital One Adolphus Children's Parade in downtown Dallas for the 4th year in a row on December 5th. (Yes, I'm very late in posting this. December is a crazy month for us.) Enjoy the photos because if it's as cold next year as it was this year, I'll be watching the parade on TV from the comfort of my own home!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Children's Hospital Visit

Every year before the Capital One Adolphus Children's Parade in downtown Dallas, there is a party at Children's Medical Center of Dallas for the patients. The stormtroopers are always invited to the party, which took place last Friday, and I have to say that this is my favorite part of their involvement with this parade. Last year's visit was what finally made me able to be thankful, as the bible says we should be in all things, for my husband's kidney disease.

The guys started out at the party taking pictures with people (including this year's Miss America) and doing crafts with the kiddos.

I took my typical picture with R2.

The hospital wanted R2-D2 and The Stormtrooper with Kidney Disease to go upstairs to visit the kiddos on dialysis. My husband now has a special reputation at Children's. It's hard to see kids receiving dialysis, as it's a tough thing for them to go through, but it's always neat to see their expressions when my stormtrooper tells them that he has kidney disease, too. I got a cute a shot of Steven in the dialysis room giving a thumbs up with one of the patients.

We headed up to a different hospital ward to visit a particular patient who is a huge Star Wars fan. I didn't have permission to photograph this kiddo, so you can't see it, but trust me when I say the look on his face was priceless when R2 rolled into his room unexpectedly, followed by a stormtrooper. What cracked me up was the medical staff. Suddenly, there was a gaggle of doctors and nurses in the hallway, and they all wanted pictures with the Star Wars characters!

Another great year visiting at Children's. As I said before, this is my favorite part of the whole parade experience, and it's a great way to kick off the Christmas holidays.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Craft Week: Paw Print Ornaments

If you're a regular here, you know that my cat Calvin is dying from kidney disease. This is probably his last Christmas with us, so I decided that I need to make paw prints. I pulled out the Super Sculpey and ink and got to work.

I started by conditioning the clay. I warmed it up in my hands, rolled it out a bit, then ran it through the pasta machine. The pasta machine isn't necessary, but it does help to get the clay nice and even and unlumpy.

Next I pulled out the cookie cutters and cut a large circle for the ornament.

The next step involved instructing my husband to put on something that he doesn't mind getting inky. He grabbed a really ugly jumpsuit he keeps in the garage for when it's really cold out and he needs to do messy work.

I asked him to grab our first unwilling participant, Doogie.

We headed to the bathroom where we could corral the cat and easily clean up inky paw prints should he get away from us. Which he did.

Initally I tried to do a white paw print. I was wanting to do the cats' ornaments in their coat colors, so Doogie got silver sculpey, and Calvin got brown. The white ink didn't show up well on the silver sculpey, so I wiped it off and started over with black. Be sure to use pigment ink since the sculpey will be baked. Pigment ink sets with heat.

Doogie cried and fought and acted like we were killing him. Apparently, making paw prints is cruel and unusual.

After Doogie was all cleaned up (further torture), we let him go and grabbed Calvin. He was much easier. He's our laidback cat who was just happy that we weren't shoving pills down his throat while in the bathroom. He was more concerned with drinking water than anything.

Their paw prints reflect their personalities and attitudes perfectly. Calvin's (the brown one) came out beautifully. Doogie's (the silver one) is a little messy and unclear, which just shows that he was fighting.

As we were already in the bathroom getting kitties all inked up, I decided to have them autograph their story. They put their "pawtographs" (my husband made up that term) in my copy and another copy that I bought as a gift for their vet. Doogie's print is red; Calvin's is blue.

I wanted to put their names on their ornaments, so I got out my small alphabet stamps for that job.

I used a straw to make a hole for ribbon for hanging the ornament.

The ornaments went into the oven according to the sculpey packaging's instructions and baked. When they were finished, I brushed some sculpey glossy glaze on top to give them a finished coating.

If you're wondering about those other brown ornaments in the back of the picture, that was a little Star Wars something I decided to do while the brown sculpey was out. I used my Chewbacca rubber stamp. This one can go on my husband's little Star Wars tree. I intend to make more with other Star Wars stamps, but it was getting late, and I wanted to finish things up for this post.

Finally, thread ribbon through the holes and hang ornaments from the tree.

I'll be the first to admit that these aren't beautiful, perfect ornaments. But they are very precious to me, even in their messy-looking state. Our cats' paws are immortalized to grace our tree in all our future Christmases. A lovely reminder to us of our sweet furbabies.