A Work in Progress


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Work took Jon to Alabama this weekend, and I found myself alone in the apartment without a voice of reason. This is how I am accepting the fact that I once again decided to give Books & Tea a makeover, I just spent $100 at Joanne Fabrics on a craft I have zero experience with, and I didn’t complete nearly as many chores as I had intended; although, in my defense, I’ve also completed more chores than I normally do in one weekend, so there is that.

On the Blog

I can’t explain the allure of new WordPress themes, but I am captivated by them, and the moment they go up is the moment I begin planning to overhaul the blog. This time, I meant business. Since “featured images” are such a key component to my new theme, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday creating new images for the site focusing on consistent colors (teal, grey, white) and themes (books and tea, of course). One of these days, I hope to master the art of creative clutter, like some of my favorite Bookstagrammers, but until then, clean and simple is what I can do.

I had given myself a deadline of end-of-day Sunday, but that isn’t achievable. As I dug through my crates of books, I realized that I’m missing a lot of the books that I reviewed on Books & Tea. I’m sure they were misplaced during my moves last year, so now I’m trying to decide between tracking down those books at the library or just letting them go. Who clicks that far back on a blog anyway?

On the Craft

I visited my mom in Oklahoma last weekend, and during my last day there, I found myself staring into a barrel of Christmas ornaments of various plush animals– bears wearing ice skates, pugs wearing scarves and hipster glasses, owls not giving a hoot– that sort of thing. I then had this brilliant idea that I should sew myself some festive, stuffed animal ornaments. That I could sew myself some festive, stuffed animal ornaments. I even said these thoughts out loud to my mom and she did the worst thing a mother could do– agree with me. And this is why I ended up spending $100 at Joanne Fabrics. At the time, 4 yards of flannel, 10 sheets of felt, various beads and buttons, and 2 pounds of polyester stuffing didn’t seem like very much. After I sat down on Sunday to learn a blanket stitch and sew my very first ornament, I realized I had enough sewing rations to make it through several Christmases. I also realized that I’m terrible at sewing.

Star OrnamentThis is my very first ornament. Don’t laugh! …Okay, you can laugh. I’m pretty sure my mom did when I sent her a picture of it this morning. The lighting is very bad here because my apartment is basically a cave, but it’s cream-colored flannel, dark green thread, and gold beads. Everyone keeps telling me that it looks like it was “made with love”, which I think is just a polite way of saying “your star looks like actual garbage”. After realizing what I had gotten myself in to, I sent Jon a text apologizing for the very ugly Christmas tree we will be having this year.

This 2-3 inch ornament took about three hours to complete, so I think this means I have to crank out an ornament every other night until Christmas to fill up our 4-foot, fake Virginia Pine.

The next ornament I plan to make is a sheep wearing snow boots. I’ll let you know how that goes.

What kind of crafty hobbies do you have? Have you ever hand-crafted holiday ornaments before?

10 responses to “A Work in Progress”

  1. Erin Avatar

    I completely relate: the draw of WordPress themes is irresistible, as well as crafty Christmas ornaments. One winter, my husband and I gathered dozens of pine cones, and, armed with glue gun, glitter, and ribbon, we created woodsy ornaments. Have fun crafting and happy holidays!


  2. Barb Avatar

    Too Funny! I am setting at work laughing so hard I am crying! I hate sewing…I mean HATE it!! But, your ornament is beautiful…..because it is made with love 😉


  3. kaycreate Avatar

    I did this same thing with making felt stuffed animals last year…the first few were a right mess of stitches, but I improved and really ended up liking the results! I’m sure you’ll improve too…gotta start somewhere. Besides, you can keep it forever knowing you made it with your own two hands – I always find that good for a little self satisfaction.


  4. J. Bookish Avatar
    J. Bookish

    I really need to update my blog. I don’t feel like it’s “me” at the moment, you know? So I feel you. I’ve changed it too many times already haha. And I actually think your ornament is adorable! It doesn’t have to be perfect to look good 🙂


  5. Cee Avatar

    Any time somebody changes their blog theme, I feel tempted to change mines to something new and shiny too. I love that lightning bolt shirt. Kamala Khan would aprove. 😉

    You’ll get better over time with your sewing! I need to make my Xmas cards, but I am lacking inspiration. I don’t know what to do!


  6. Lola Avatar

    I like your new design! It looks great and I like how clean and simple the design is and the bit of teal really makes it shine. I personally don’t have the urge to redo my design at all, not sure why. I am happy with my current design and will tweak some things now and then, but now big changes.

    I tried sewing once too and it looked horrible. Even though I would love to learn it, I am not any good at it yet. I also made a few hammocks back when we still had pet rats, but eventually just asked my mom to make them as mine looked horrible.

    It just seems so fun to be able to create all those things yourself. I love the idea of making your own christmas ornaments, that’s such a fun idea! Just keep trying! Btw a way to make sure not all the stitches show is to stitch the whole thing and then turn it inside out, that’s a trick I once learned on school while we had to stitch a mushroom for an exercise once. Although with a star that might not work as I am not sure if the points would turn out well then. Good luck with the sewing, it looks fun!


  7. Vlora Avatar

    I’m still laughing out loud about the sewing as I write this comment, just so you know. 😀 It’s especially relevant for me right now, because I completely randomly decided to sew myself a sleeve for my Kindle from old clothes today. It, um, went about as well as your ornament. No, scratch that, it’s much, much worse, your ornament really does look like it was made with love, my sleeve looks like it was made by a pre-schooler with violent tendencies who was forced to let them out on fabric by his parents because their child therapist said it was a good idea. It’s completely lopsided and random and the fabric is all crumply because I made it from a trouser leg that had wrinkles and I have no ironing board. It also took me four movies so ALL DAY. No regrets though, it was fun and my Kindle is now protected when I carry it around in my bag. I’ll probably continue with the sewing, but I might look for instructions somewhere if I’m not too lazy. Also, the “A Blog” in your header made me crack up, because I always spend ten thousand years trying to come up with something when I have to choose stuff like that and that just seems like a very ingenious solution. 😀


    1. Vlora Avatar

      WAIT HANG ON. Were you changing your header as we speak??? Because now the “A Blog” is gone and it looks different. I AM ON TO YOU.


      1. Jackie G. Avatar
        Jackie G.

        Ha! No, I set it up so that it shuffles through three different headers at random. I discovered that I’m really narcissistic, and I keep swinging by my page to admire my hard work, but then I do it too much and get sick of it and end up redesigning everything. So…the header shuffle is to delay the day where I inevitably get sick of my header and feel the urge to change it again.


    2. Jackie G. Avatar
      Jackie G.

      You mean, I’m not the only adult that hasn’t invested in an ironing board? I feel much better about myself now.

      I’m terrible at sewing, but it’s still mighty satisfying after completing a project, even if my star does look lumpy and my sheep looks like a panda and/or a ghost and or a panda ghost.


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Hello, my name is Jackie. I’m a thirty-something mother of a rambunctious toddler from a small town in Michigan. When I’m not toddler-wrangling, I’m often seeking refuge from life’s most chaotic moments in a cup of hot tea. I also love getting lost in stories—both in books and virtually. I enjoy speculative fiction the most, and I am especially eager to read fantasy novels and horror novels. When I’m feeling especially indulgent (usually after everyone in the house has gone to sleep), I like to dive into video games and explore the sprawling worlds in Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect.

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