A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Category: crafts (Page 3 of 3)

Inspired

And speaking of special keepsakes from baptisms

(If you can call a formerly poop-encrusted magnetic stone swallowed by an older sibling of the baptized baby a keepsake, like I obviously do.)

One of my lovely readers, Mary Lou of San Antonio, Texas, recently shared some pictures on Facebook of the baptism gown she made with her own two hands for her beautiful new granddaughter, Emma. All baptism gowns are special by their very nature, but the thing that caught my eye about this one in particular is that Mary Lou made it from her vintage 1974 wedding dress. 

The craftsmanship is simply stunning. But I was particularly drawn to the history and sentimentality of the fabric and trim. I asked Mary Lou for more details and this is what she told me:

I wasn’t able to use the satin because it had yellowed.  Besides, it was too stiff for a baby, in my opinion.  I used the sheer overlay from my dress and underlined it with new broadcloth.  I also trimmed Emma’s gown with the lace from my dress to which my mom, my four sisters, and I had sewn hundreds of translucent sequins 37 years ago. The tiny buttons on the back of Emma’s gown were from an old sewing box that belonged to my husband’s Aunt Emmie.

I am so deeply touched by Mary Lou’s story and her longstanding family traditions.

If I had found this on Pinterest, I probably would have pinned it onto my “Damn, I suck” pinboard, which is what I do when I find yet another thing I never did or probably never will do with/for/about/in honor of my clearly neglected children. But my love/hate relationship with Pinterest is a post for another day.

No, because I discovered this little gem on Facebook, handmade and posted by one of my Facebook friends, I was able to bypass the guilt and go right to appreciation mode.

I mean, really! A vintage wedding dress, hand-beaded decades earlier by her own family, repurposed into a baptism gown for the next generation? It’s so creative, sentimental, spiritually rich, and environmentally friendly!  Being a crafty, God-loving, and somewhat green girl myself, I have a special place in my heart for Mary Lou’s gorgeous creation and felt compelled to share it with you all.

Now before you go beating yourself up for having never done something fabulous like this your own self, you should know that Mary Lou has been sewing since she was a little girl. It’s always been her passion. She used to sew clothes for herself, her sisters, and even her Barbie Doll. Eventually, she became a homemaking teacher so she could share her passion with others.

That there is a picture of four generations of Mary Lou’s family. Pictured from left to right: Meemaw, Amanda, Mary Lou, and baby Emma. That bonnet Mary Lou is holding was made for little Emma by one of Mary Lou’s sisters out of Meemaw’s vintage 1953 wedding gown.

Stay with me, people.

Sentimental sewing is a longstanding tradition in Mary Lou’s family:

I think each of the women in our family have sewn our grandmother’s wedding lace to our wedding petticoats, in addition to wedding rings and hankies from various family members.

Mary Lou also handmade a lace hanky years ago that has since made the rounds in various sacraments through the generations as baptism bonnets, handkerchiefs, and wedding bouquet ribbons. Who knew a hanky could be so versatile?! Not me, I tells ya.

That same hanky, pictured above on Mary Lou’s daughter Amanda’s wedding bouquet, was recently tucked into Amanda’s son Dylan’s pocket at his baptism. Mary Lou hopes that he’ll one day give it to his bride and that his children will have it with them at their baptisms as well.

Mary Lou is obviously a gifted seamstress. But I just love how thoughtful and sentimental she is about so many little details. That is truly a gift that will keep on giving for generations to come. What an inspiration!

I had my wedding dress “preserved” (or so I thought) back in 1997 right after my big day. I took it to a dry cleaner who supposedly specialized in wedding dress preservation and paid the big bucks so that one day I’d be able to hand it down to my daughter or granddaughter like I guessed I was supposed to do. Sadly, the process they used totally removed the white color from the overlay, turning my once beautiful white dress into a tarnished beige color. (Oh hold your snickering, Evelyn… I know you always thought it was wrong for me to be married in white in the first place! Bitch.)

Anyhooo…I have kept my tarnished dress in that ginormous acid-free cardboard “Wedding Chest” for all these years, never knowing what I’d do with it. Mini-Me is not going to want a brown wedding dress…even if it does complement the poop-tainted magnet pendant I’ll be making for her one day.

And now that I’m on a mission to clear the clutter from my life and get organized, I’m thinking about that damaged wedding dress and all the cool things I could make out of it for family heirlooms. All because of Mary Lou!

Baby Emma and her “MimiLou.”

Yes indeedy! You best believe that my kids and grandkids will be sporting little bits of my tarnished vintage wedding gown someday in everything from ring bearer pillows, to hankies, to fancy heirloom bibs and burp cloths. Shoot, with the size of my train, people are going to get mighty sick of all the heirloom hand sewn items soon to be coming their way. Can’t you just hear me now: “Sweetie, you be careful with that custom Trapper Keeper Science Binder Cover! Grandma made that ‘specially for you out of my vintage wedding gown.” Or “Make sure you have those kitchen towels dry cleaned, they’re handmade from my wedding dress, you know.” Or, “Hon, did your poker buddies like the coasters I made?” 

Hey, a girl can dream.

I am linking this to Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing series because I am so motivated by Mary Lou to someday repurpose old, unused or damaged, sentimental “clutter” into new family heirlooms my family will treasure for generations to come. I hope this post can inspire other crafty friends on the decluttering and organizing journey to do the same!

with love, admiration, and inspiration,

-Iris

 

PS – New here? Like what you see? Want to help others enjoy it too? Please share the love by voting for The Bearded Iris at Babble.com’s list of the Top 50 Mom Blogs.  I’m currently in the teens on page one of the list. Thank you kindly!

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Placenta Crafts and More!

“It’s 2:00 AM. Do you know where your placenta is?”

I’m imagining a deep, slow, and serious tone for the voiceover… maybe James Earl Jones, or a Don LaFontaine impersonator.

Details. Anyhooo.

I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual. Let me back up a bit.

Pregnant women have a lot on their minds these days. In our information-overload society, they are bombarded with choices. Vaginal birth or planned caesarean? Hospital birth or home birth? Circumcision or intact? Cloth diapers or disposables? OMG, should I be teaching my baby to read?

Probably the last thing a woman who has just given birth needs to be thinking about is “What the hell do I do with my placenta?” 

I didn’t even know what the fark a placenta was the first time I had a baby nearly twelve years ago. I was young(er) and clueless. Didn’t do any research whatsoever. Just assumed that women had been having babies for thousands of years…what else did I need to know? (Have you met my triplets? Denial, Avoidance, and Procrastination?)

As a fancy-free first-timer, I can assure you that I spent more time and energy decorating my baby’s nursery than I did actually contemplating a birth plan or any postpartum details. The good news? My nursery was super cute, like Oh-my-God! The bad news? Holy shit – childbirth is hard and painful! Who knew?

Der.

My second time around on the Birth-o-Rama ride I actually did bring home my placenta in a Ziploc freezer bag. I just had no idea what to do with it.

So I stuck it in a bucket on my back porch for a few days and forgot about it while I was bonding with Mini-Me and icing my hoo-hoo.

Lord have mercy, you do not want to know how that story ended. Trust me.

But the young girls today are much more educated and conscientious than I was in my breeding years. Or at least my friend Mama Cloud is. I knew she was planning a home birth and so I assumed she’d also have some pretty spectacular plans for her placenta. 

I didn’t know what… the things people do with their placentas these days are pretty incredible. For instance, among other things, she could:

Dang. I must have missed the session on Placenta Crafts at Mommy College. Fuckin’ A.

Regardless of her choice, I knew she’d need a way to store that placenta until she was able to do whatever it was she was going to do with it. So, I designed a special gift for her baby shower that I thought would be practical AND funny.

Practical. Yes.

Funny, pretty much only to me. (And hopefully to you too, my twisted readers.)

Yes, I learned a valuable life lesson that day about gag gifts, and baby showers where you don’t know anyone but the mama-to-be, and ladies who take their placentas very seriously. Oh well. Live and learn.

I probably started off on the wrong foot by giving her a card with this on the front:

 But Mama Cloud had read and enjoyed the post I wrote about my favorite childbirth terms, so I knew (well, I hoped) she would appreciate the humor. She did. Well she said she did anyway…to my face at least.

Next up, the unveiling of my special, personal, handmade gift! I mean, what’s more personal than a storage system for your placenta?

Mama Cloud and I were the only ones laughing. Oh well. Luckily for me, she absolutely LOVED my gift and it sure came in handy! Would you like to see a close up of it?

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce:

The Placenta Keeper Plus:
For All Her Afterbirth Storage Needs

Just in case you can’t read the fine print on the back, let me spell it out for you…

Congratulations on choosing:

Placenta Keeper Plus

Exclusively distributed by The Bearded Iris
for all your afterbirth storage needs.

  • Air tight seal prevents spoilage.
  • Matching lids help you keep all your post-partum souvenirs organized!
  • Highly visible labels prevent your oh-so-helpful-hubby from accidentally defrosting your placenta for stew meat.
  • A variety of sizes to accommodate any placenta…small, medium, or large!
  • Ecnomical! Why pay pricey cord blood bank fees?!
  • Semi transparent containers give your placenta the privacy it deserves.
  • Neutral design to complement any decor.
  • Heirloom quality – a keepsake for generations to come.
  • Environmentally friendly – repurposed containers from local thrift store.

I’m so impressed with myself! And so that’s why I’m thinking I should start auditioning voiceover artists to hock my awesome product. I think I’m onto something here folks. Placenta Keeper Plus might just be my golden ticket! Remember, you saw it here first.

Sure wish I had had one of those when I brought home my placenta 8 years ago. Maybe then I could have safely frozen it until I was ready to deal with it. {Sigh} Another mothering opportunity out the window (writes the mother whose children are on their 4th hour of TV for the day so I can blog. Nice.)

Epilogue: My dear friend Mama Cloud had her Placenta Keeper Plus ready to go when she birthed her beautiful son at home. And a few minutes later when she delivered her placenta, it went right into one of those handy dandy containers and into an ice-filled cooler on the front porch. And no, I don’t know which size she used, but thanks for asking.

The next day, a volunteer from a local Search and Rescue Dog Training organization came to pick it up. I bet he was awfully impressed with Mama Cloud’s professional placenta packaging! Yes indeedy, yet another thing you can do with fresh placenta is donate it to help train Search and Rescue Dogs to find missing people! Incredible! Wish I had known that when each of my three babies were born. Mama Cloud – you rock. What a cool thing to do!

I’m a little bummed I won’t be able to taste some of her encapsulated placenta or get a placenta printed thank you note, but I sure as shit am glad Mama Cloud didn’t make that thing into a teddy bear. “It puts the lotion on the placenta.” {Shudder.}

entrepreneurially yours,

-Iris Beard, Inventor of Placenta Keeper Plus

Let’s do finger knitting!

Last week my eight year old daughter and I were flying home to Atlanta from a lovely long weekend visiting my extended family in Pittsburgh. Shortly after boarding the plane we discovered that her DSi was out of battery power.

Uh oh.

Here it comes.

I braced myself…

Three. Two. One.

“MOM! Why didn’t you remind me to charge my DSi last night?” she verbally lunged faster than a cornered snapping turtle at an impromptu roadside petting zoo.

Me? Oh-no-she-DI-INT!

“Um, excuse me, Miss Thang, but you are eight years old; it is YOUR job to be responsible for your own electronics, not mine.”

That’s me on the defense…can you tell? I was acting all tough, but deep down inside I was silently kicking myself for not charging that thing for her. You see, I want to be a good parent. I  want my children to learn from natural consequences and grow up to be responsible, self-sufficient adults. However, on an airplane, surrounded by 200 cranky strangers with nothing but diminutive packets of peanuts to break up the time, regular rules don’t apply. The fact that her DSi was uncharged was about to create some pretty fucking negative consequences for everyone else on the whole plane. I cannot be a party to that.

Believe me, you do NOT want to be sitting anywhere near THIS… especially on an airplane:

We’re talking kick-the-seat-in-front-of-her, see how many times the tray table can go up and down, repeatedly raise and lower the window shade so fast that it creates a strobe light effect and sends people into seizure mode. Not okay. So since I forgot to remind her to charge her electronic babysitter, I needed to think fast and find a way to keep the little bitch busy.

Fortunately, one of my aunts had just given Mini-Me a really cool “French Knitting Spool Kit” with a couple skeins of really pretty variegated yarn. Unfortunately, as we learned the night before at dinner when Mini-Me spiraled into an “I can’t DO this!” meltdown, she’s probably not quite developmentally ready for Spool Knitting. Ooops. Well, it was the thought that counted.

But never fear, with my cat-like parenting reflexes, I engineered a quick alternative: FINGER KNITTING!

Super easy. Super fun. Hours of zen-like busy work with really cool results. I’ve seen kids as young as five years old do this with no help! All you need is yarn and two hands and you can make headbands, belts, necklaces, decorative garlands, a leash for your little brother, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Here’s how you get started:

Turn your non-dominant hand to face you. I’m using my baseball-glove-sized right hand below, because I’m a lefty. Now take the end from your skein of yarn and loosely weave it in and out of the four fingers of that non-dominant hand, figure eight-style, like so:

It doesn’t matter which side of your hand you start the weaving from. I usually tie the loose end to the skein end when I make it back to the finger where I started from (in this case, my pinky):

Next, wrap the skein end all the way around your hand, slightly above the in-and-out woven part you just did, then around the back of your hand, and returning to the side with the knot, like this:

Then, using the thumb and index finger of your other hand, pick up each of the finger loops one by one and lift it OVER the wrapped hand piece of yarn, one finger at a time. In finger knitting, your fingers can bend toward your palm to make it easy to pass the yarn over each finger. Sounds complicated, but it’s not. Look at these pics. First I’m doing my pointer finger loop…

Next, my swearing finger:

In this next pic, I’ve already lifted the yarn over the first three fingers, one at a time (working toward my pinky), now I’m about to lift the wrapped loop on my pinky over the other piece of yarn that was wrapped around my whole hand:

After you’ve done this to each of your four fingers, it will look like this:

You’ve just completed a row! Wrap the working end (skein end) of the yarn around your whole hand and back again. And one by one, lift the bottom finger loops over the top hand loop. Do this over and over until the back of your hand looks like this (we’re switching to Mini-Me’s sweet little hands now):

Keep working. A few more rows and it will look like this:

Once it gets about that long, you can gently start to tug on the knotted part and a chain will form down the back of your hand. If you keep knitting, eventually you’ll have a long chain like this:

Look how peacefully occupied and content she is! Totally not kicking the seat in front of her, by the way.

Naturally your child will need to go to the bathroom at some point. You have two choices, tell her to hold it and hope for the best, or remove the finger knitting from her hand so she can go to the bathroom without turning her knitting into a bio-hazard. I chose the latter. Here’s a picture of me temporarily using a pen to hold her stitches in place while she drains the main vein on the airplane (hey, I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it!). I’m nothing if not über resourceful.

So there you have it: my desperate version of Impromptu Airplane Finger Knitting. Take my advice and keep a skein of yarn in your bag o’ tricks! You never know when it will come in handy.

If you would like more information on Finger Knitting, here is a good (short, sweet, & silent!) YouTube tutorial for your viewing pleasure. And here’s another. It’s so easy, just ask these adorable kids!! (But kids, don’t wrap the finished product around your necks! Der.) And look…there’s even one for my Spanish speaking friends. As you can see, there are a variety of personal finger knitting styles and techniques. All of them work, so pick one that makes the most sense to you and give it a try. Or let your kid annoy the shit out of everyone on the airplane just because you were too drunk to charge up their electronic game. Totally up to you.

yours in desperate craftiness,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.



Pootorial

Make your own DIY fake poop out of upcycled cardboard! Funny and practical, kids and fun parents LOVE this easy, green, hilarious craft. Great for pranks!

Greetings! For today’s Just the Tip Tuesday post, I’d like to share with you a simple pleasure that has brought my family much joy over the years. It is the art of making a fake turd.

This is a simple, green, and no-cost craft that is fabulous for children of all ages. It is important to note that I don’t typically enjoy crafting with children, particularly my own. However, this is so incredibly easy and the results are so entertaining that I just can’t resist.

For this craft, you will need only three things:

1. A bowl of water.

2. A cardboard toilet paper or paper towel tube. The bigger the tube, the bigger the turd. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking a wrapping paper tube would be super fun.

3. Two hands. If you are differently abled, one hand would probably suffice. I don’t think this craft would work though if you have hooks instead of hands.

The pretty girl is optional.

My lovely assistant will now demonstrate the steps needed to transform the cardboard into a turd:

1. Using your hand(s), rip the cardboard tube open lengthwise.

2. Submerge the cardboard into the bowl of water and move it around so it gets nice and soggy.

3. Now remove the cardboard from the water and start to form the fake turd with your hand(s). Squeeze the wet cardboard so that it will bunch up into a long, compact, moist, brown, wrinkly cylinder.

4. Be patient. It can take a minute or two of good hard squeezing to form the perfect turd. Here’s one that’s almost ready…


5. A few more squeezes and…

Need a cheap, easy, green, and FUNNY craft to do with your kids? Check out my POOTORIAL on making fake turds using recycled materials and just two other ingredients. HILARIOUS and practical. Kids (and fun parents) LOVE this.

Voilà! Pretty awesome, no?

Wait, here’s a close up so you can really appreciate the details:

Need a cheap, easy, green, and FUNNY craft to do with your kids? Check out my POOTORIAL on making fake turds using recycled materials and just two other ingredients. HILARIOUS and practical. Kids (and fun parents) LOVE this.

The best part? My eight year old daughter is able to complete this craft completely on her own. That’s what those in the Montessori community call “mastery.” Just look at the pride emanating from her masterful little face as she lovingly cradles her new fake turd:

Once you have a fake turd or two in your arsenal, it’s time to play. The choices are endless. Here’s one possible vignette:

A little obvious for my taste, but the kids sure like that one. Personally, I like the element of surprise. For me, turd in the shoe equals F-U-N.

Some other ideas for using your fake turds include dramatic play such as puppet shows and story telling reenactments of momentous bathroom events.

You can also craft with your fake turds. I’m thinking googly eyes and little outfits and hats would be a hoot!

Or how about mixing in torn colored construction paper during the turd making process to simulate dietary changes. What a safe and and fun way to explore what happens when we eat corn or beets or cupcakes with blue frosting!

And of course, there’s always good old classic family games like Turd Toss, Find the Turd, and Turd Tag. Let your imagination be your guide.

I hope this earth-friendly craft brings you and yours as much joy and satisfaction as it brings my family!

fondly

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

If you enjoyed this piece, I have an entire Pinterest board called “Poop is Funny.” Join me there and let’s giggle together!

Follow Leslie’s board Poop is Funny on Pinterest.

The Best Family Craft We Ever Made (and Survived)

I don’t enjoy crafting with kids. Especially groups of kids. Especially MY kids. I know it is wrong to feel this way and I don’t care. When I craft, I craft alone.

Allow me to elaborate.

Crafting with kids is messy. This creates more work for me. I have enough cleaning to do without purposefully adding to the colorful array of permanent stains in my home.

Crafting with kids is frustrating. The kids never do what I want them to do with the materials and I have a problem with that. (Can you say “control issues”?)

Crafting with kids is too time consuming. Especially when you factor in the time it takes to remove something like decoupage medium from clothes, hair, and walls.

Crafting with kids can be expensive and wasteful. How many times have I shelled out moolah for kid-friendly knitting needles, latch hooking kits, sock monkey making supplies, an authentic full sized weaving loom, etc.? It would be one thing if they ever actually completed one of these crafts. But have they? Ever? No. No they have not.

Crafting with kids is bad for the environment. See above. Do we really need more nylon potholders, paper machéd Mardi Gras masks, or sock monkeys in the landfills? In addition, the amount of kid-generated dust-catching clutter in my home is surely not good for air quality.

Crafting with kids can be dangerous. Did I ever tell you about the time that Mini-Me ran my sewing machine needle right through her finger tip? No? Well that’s because it hasn’t happened yet. But it totally could if I ever got my sewing machine out of the closet and let her use it with me, which I never will because it is too damn dangerous.

There. Have I made my point?

Alas, being a crafty woman myself (as in one who likes to craft, not one who is clever and calculating), I do feel for my children when they get that urge to make stuff. And sometimes, when the stars align, I actually break down and do it.

One day last summer we spontaneously decorated a vinyl table cloth and it turned out to be the best family crafting experience we ever had.

Here, take a look:

family craft idea: painted table cloth

Isn’t that fabulous?

It was ridiculously easy too. And not too messy. Or frustrating. Or bad for the environment. Or dangerous!

Here’s all you need:

As you can see, I have absolutely no brand loyalty or preferences when it comes to acrylic paint. Use what you have… it will be fine. For some reason, acrylic paint bonds to the vinyl and doesn’t wash off, even when you are scrubbing melted wax or dried up three-day-old marinara sauce.

That two yards of marine vinyl will run you about $20 if you accidentally leave your 40% off coupon from Joanne’s Fabric at home like I did that day. Story of my life. Anyhooo….the reason I like this fabric is that it is very thick and heavy and doesn’t slide around on my table. Plus, it is waterproof, light-fast, antifungal, and antimicrobial! Shit, I should make play clothes for the kids out this miracle fabric. Oooh, slip covers for the couches! One word of warning – this fabric will melt if you put a hot pan or casserole dish on it, so don’t. Or if you do, just cover that melty spot with a pretty potted plant like so:

So here’s how we did it, step by step:

1.) Pick a palette of colors that YOU like. This is important. Don’t let the kids pick the paint colors or your tablecloth could end up looking like a Tampon Box went to the circus and got its face painted by drunk color blind clown with daddy issues. Trust me on this one. I’m sure the proper way to do art with kids is to let the kids choose the colors, but no, sorry, not gonna happen at my house.

2.) Using the main color (of your choice), paint big bold swirly tadpole-like shapes all over the cloth. I was trying to create a funky paisley print. But if that’s not your bag, I think big circles of various sizes would look very cool too.

3.) Let these shapes dry. That’s important. It doesn’t take that long. Go fold some laundry, or stir the stew, or eat some bonbons and take the Dr. Oz quiz of the day.

4.) Once dry, let each of your kids pick a shape to paint. I gave each kid a styrofoam meat tray and a few blobs of each color and just let them go to town… in that very small defined swirly tadpole shape. One shape at a time. Evenly divvied up between the three kids. We left a few shapes blank on purpose. Sometimes less really is more.

And that is it!

As you can see, I let them totally express themselves and didn’t try to micromanage how each finished paisley shape turned out. But that wasn’t stressful for a control freak like me because ultimately, I set the tone of the tablecloth with the color palate and the pattern.

My two boys each wanted to make one of their swirls into a whale… or maybe those are sperm. Sperm whales? Whatever. So cute!

Also, this project worked because each kid could do as much or as little as they wanted. The big kids could take their time and really enjoy making several different painted shapes, and the three year old got to briefly participate and then walk away as soon as it got boring. All I had to do (after painting the outlines) was wash brushes, refill paint blobs, and help with the hand washing at the end. Not bad.

I have to say, I love the way this project turned out. And no children or pets were harmed in the process which is also a bonus. As soon as I can find that Joanne’s coupon, we might make a few more so I can change things up with various seasons or holidays. This would also make a really nice gift for the grandparents to protect their beautiful antique table when the kids come to visit.

Make one and send me some pictures!

Happy crafting!

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

The Valentine Blues

Valentine’s Day is not my fave.

If you love someone, you should tell them all the time… not just on one over-the-top day. Just sayin’.

I told my husband this when we first started dating back in 1995 as part of my “I’m really low-maintenance… you hit the jackpot with me, pal” façade. Mistake. Big mistake. Now the man thinks he can just skirt through every holiday without giving me cards and flowers and candy and jewels. Dammit. I had no earthly idea that in less than a decade I would become an invisible vessel for grandkids and PTA sponsored fundraising. That changed everything. I am definitely no longer as low-maintenance as I was 10 years ago… and not just because of all the new hormone induced facial hair. I need some attention, fuckers. Is it me, or can you relate, ladies?

Maybe I’m just bitter because I didn’t get a single Valentine this year. Yeah yeah, I know, I’m being a hypocrite. That whole “T’is better to give than to receive” thing is a load of crap, sorry Jesus. I want to receive. And by receive, I’m talking about more than just a bean burrito dinner followed by falling asleep farting in our Snuggies watching You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (note to self: must reorder my Netflix queue to coincide with holidays more appropriately.)  Mama needs some romance. And for the record, “Are we gonna do it later, or what?” doesn’t really get the juices flowin’, if you know what I mean.

Unlike their bitter mama, my lovey-dovey kids really dig this Hallmark holiday. So, for them, I did my darndest to hide my “cupid-is-stupid” ire and rise to the occasion. Awwww. I helped them make their Valentine’s Boxes and cards and we even whipped up a fabulous and funky Valentine  Tree, which took near heroic measures since I absolutely abhor crafting with children. Don’t get me wrong, I love crafting. I’m crafty. I can make pretty much anything. Anything. Seriously. But bring a kid into the equation, and I’d rather donate a cornea or two.

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Isn’t that just fabulous? Klepto and I decoupaged tissue paper onto an old plastic flower pot we found in the garage. I cut the branches off a big old fallen tree limb that was cluttering up my yard. And Klepto made a majority of those ornaments herself with crap we had lying around the house. My friend Jennifer says I have no right to be making fun of “Über Moms” when I have a homemade Valentine Tree like this in my house. But Jennifer, I gotta tell you, not only was I probably drunk as a skunk when we made it, but I am pretty sure I made Klepto cry five minutes into the decoupage process when she got bored and started to decoupage her hands to the table with the glue. So no, drunk screaming lunatics and Über Moms are mutually exclusive groups, in my humble opinion.

Speaking of being crafty… I am learning how to crochet. My BFF/neighbor Tammy (you remember her… the one who always one-ups me and tries to improve my recipes and then take credit for them?) gave me the most amazing birthday present last year. She cleaned out her overflowing craft closet and put together a lovingly recycled “Teach Yourself to Crochet” basket containing an instruction book, a bunch of crochet needles, some yarn, and a few handfuls of stale Easter candy that was calling her name a little too close to swimsuit season. Bitch. Anyhooo, the thought behind this gift was extraordinary. She knew that I had always wanted to learn to crochet and she gave me a gift to help me achieve that goal. That’s a good friend, ya’ll, stale candy or not.

The only problem with trying to teach yourself to crochet from a book is that it is really hard. I tried and I tried, but I just wasn’t getting it. Oh, I’m left-handed too, which makes everything harder, except making obscene gestures out my window while I drive. I do that with excellent dexterity and enthusiasm.

But you know what they say… when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. About a month ago, a lovely muse named Lara appeared on my doorstep. She and her groovy husband are my kids’ music teachers. They come to my house once a week and fill my home with song and love and a variety of talents. Lara can crochet like nobody’s beeswax. She sat down with me and showed me how to do some stitches and instilled me with confidence that crochet is really not that hard. Reading crochet patterns is not for pussies though. I still can’t really do that.

But Lara also taught me something phenomenal. She taught me that you can learn pretty much anything you ever wanted to know on YouTube. And the coolest thing about it is that you can start/stop/repeat lessons until you get it and not have to worry about annoying your teacher to death.

Want to learn how to use a Neti Pot? How about Body Party Math?  Would you like to rewire a lamp? Learn to do the splits? Be prepared to deliver a baby in the backseat of a taxicab? (Check out the giant rubber teaching vajayjay!!!)  Learn Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance moves step by step? (OMG, “The Spank It” and “The Pump Walk”… these are must-have-moves for any dance repertoire!!!)  Or hey, aren’t you the least bit curious about what happens when a goat licks an electric fence?  You can learn all this and more on YouTube.

Me? Well, after I mastered all that stuff, I taught myself how to crochet a heart for my sweet little girl. I even found a crochet heart tutorial for left-handed mamacitas like me! YouTube rocks, ya’ll. See? I did it!

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Bet you didn’t know I was such a crafty beaver, did you?! Well I am. Get over it. Don’t worry, I can combine all my favorite things and still be the same slutty booze whore you’ve come to know and love.  Next, I want to learn how to make one of these:

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No, it’s not a papoose in a canoe. It’s a hand-knitted vulva I found on the Internet. God bless you, Al Gore! Wouldn’t that be the most darling change purse?! Imagine the looks you’d get at church if you pulled that out when they pass the basket!  Or how about a set of vulva coasters or beer can coozies? See, with all this crafting to do, I won’t have time to feel sorry for myself that I didn’t get any Valentines. And for those of you who missed the boat this year, you have a whole year to shop. Buy me some yarn, would ya? I’ve got some vulvas to knit.

-Iris

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