Not bad for a fat girl


Leave the Elf Mommies Alone

In recent years a most polarizing phenomenon has swept this nation. It seems fairly innocent at first, but I assure you it is not. When you spend a few minutes thinking about it, you may begin to ask yourself some interesting moral questions. Then, when you read what others think about it, you may find yourself swayed by one camp or the other.

This trend dividing our nation? Why, the Elf on a Shelf, of course.1506007_10152987829068854_3392069320071825295_n

This little guy (or gal) didn’t exist until fairly recently, but he (for the sake of simplicity I’m going with a male elf) has certainly hit the big time. I can honestly say I’m glad I was unaware of him when my son was little, because I would have had to take sides.

What’s at stake? Well, a fair amount. There are elf do-ers, elf wannabes, and elf avoiders. Some of those avoiders are vehemently anti-elf, for a variety of reasons.

For the uninitiated (where have you been?) here’s the story, as I understand it. One of Santa’s little elves goes to live with a family during the Christmas season and while he’s there he spies on the kids of the house to make sure they’re being good. He regularly flies up to the North Pole to report on those kids. He also routinely gets into trouble while he’s visiting, usually when everyone else is sleeping..

Said elf is a creepy looking little guy who is easily pose-able and gets moved around the house and often into various crazy situations.

Now aside from the unpleasant fact that harboring a spying elf seems a lot like being forced to house an opposing army, it can end up being a lot of fun. IF it’s something you want to do. IF it’s something your kids would enjoy. IF you feel like you have the time, energy, and creativity. And if you do, why not?

Honestly, I don’t think I would have been an elf mommy if they had been around when my son was little, but who knows? Maybe I would have been swept up in it. Maybe my son would have asked why none of Santa’s elves came to live with us. Maybe I would have been intrigued by the whole mischief element. Maybe.

All I know is that it’s a good thing that Pinterest didn’t exist back then either. I was having enough feelings of inadequacy just watching HGTV every now and again, I didn’t need to be bomarded by images of everyone else’s perfect worlds.

I think that’s where some of the elf hate comes in. Oh sure, it’s kind of creepy that grownups are setting up mischief scenarios involving their elves while their kids are asleep, but so what? I think the so what is that those who aren’t doing it don’t want to feel badly about not doing it.

Holidays are crazy times. We hold on to old traditions, evaluate new ones, and decide which ones we want to adopt. The elf is a fun tradition for many families, and a collosal pain in the neck for others. If that’s the case for you, don’t do it. Elves fly away. Maybe yours was needed elsewhere. Maybe your child can behave without a doll checking up on her.

Many parents are irritated that they are being made to feel like they don’t do enough for their children because they don’t stay up half the night staging an elf kitchen disaster.a0a3e37aed14b36baea31d8a0d0a376a They forget to move the elf and wait until the kid is in the bathroom. To those parents, I say, don’t sweat it. Pack it up, put it away, and let the children know they have reached a new milestone, the time in their lives when they are expected to make good choices because they’re the correct ones, not because Santa has spies.

Opting out is perfectly okay. You are not the Joneses (or maybe you are, but you just don’t want to do it). No worries. Your kid will bounce back.

But what about the flip side? What about the parents (typically mommies from what I can tell) that obsess over the antics of these little elves? Is there really anything so awful about that? They’re expressing their creativity in a way that’s meant to delight their child (is it bad to guess that they only have one?). I like to think they are creative and quirky and fun. I’m not talking about the parents who try to scare their kids with threats of “No Christmas” or other such nonsense, I’m talking about the ones who are taking this whole little elf theme and having fun with it, dreaming up clever new scenarios for the elves to charm their kids. Are these bad people? I submit that they are not.

The mommies who are having fun with the elf thing are NOT doing it to irritate you. They are not secretly thinking that if only you did the elf thing, you would be a better parent and your child would have more success in the future. Well, maybe they’re thinking some of that, but who cares? You shouldn’t. It doesn’t affect you. It isn’t about you. It’s about them having fun and sharing the fun with others. If you feel bad about it that’s your issue, not theirs.

In short:

1. The elf is kind of creepy

2. Having him in your home is sort of like harboring the enemy during wartime

3. If you don’t want to do it, don’t

4. If you’re already doing it but don’t like it, stop

5. If other people are enjoying it, leave them alone

That’s it. Regardless of whether Santa’s elves are watching you or not, be nice. Today, tomorrow, always.


The Pinterest Vortex

imagesI have sort of an on-again, off-again relationship with Pinterest. I mostly love it, but if I’m not careful it can easily get out of hand. Here are my Pinterest pros and cons, in no particular order.


1. It’s a delight for the eyes. Most of the images are beautifully photographed and just looking at them is a treat.

2. I learn things. Mostly things that I may never ever use, but if someday I need them, I’ll know where to search for the information. It will be on my “clean it, fix it, do it” board, of course. Either that or the “I ought to” board, but that one’s mainly health and fitness.

3. I actually use ideas from Pinterest in my classroom. I especially like the anchor charts that so many teachers labor over for hours and graciously share. I replicate them in my own, streamlined fashion, and use them to teach and reinforce concepts. Thank you Pinterest teachers!

4. I get inspired. After seeing 800 excellent ideas for decorating a yard for Halloween, I’m more likely to get off my duff and actually put out my lights. It may not be Pinterest worthy, but it’s done.

5. I armchair travel. I like that my feed is full of all sorts of things chosen for me by others (with my input). I love seeing beautiful gardens, stunning wild animals, and interesting architecture from around the world. It’s like flipping through a magazine of all my favorite things and never getting to the last page.

6. The quilts! I love quilts but I find myself making fewer of them, as other things have gotten in the way, and there are still only 24 hours to each day. By admiring others quilts I still feel connected to what is going on in the quilting world, without the expense of dozens of magazine subscriptions or regular shopping trips to all the wonderful quilt shops.

7. The blogs! I have found so many excellent blogs as a result of following pins to their origin. This is both a blessing and a curse. Which brings me to…

The cons

1. The blogs! There are too many and I could spend hours and hours reading them. I love them! Well, a lot of them anyway. Too bad I don’t have unlimited free time, or I would devour far more of them than I already do.

2. I get hungry. So many pins are of delicious looking food, so my tummy starts to rumble and my brain tells me I’m hungry, even if I’m not.

3. Pin envy. I try not to do it, but sometimes it happens anyway. Kitchens and bathrooms seem to be the worst offenders for me, but other things can trigger it too. At first my negativity was directed to the crazy PinLadies, who apparently had nothing but unlimited time and budgets on their hands to make everything, then gush about how their perfect family so appreciated their efforts. Really? Screw you. Then I woke up and realized that anyone posting that kind of stuff was either delusional or lying to herself or living the dream and should be congratulated, not envied. Now I just envy pretty rooms that are already done and therefore no longer involve contractors, mess, or money.

4. The time suck factor. It feels like just five minutes have gone by, but really it’s fifty-five. Then it’s hard to stop. I usually tell myself that I’ll just pin 5 more items, then I have to move on. It mostly works.

5. Virtual hoarding. That’s what I’ve heard it called, and I believe it’s true. If anyone were to ask me WHY I gather all those pins, what would I say? So I can make an anchor chart? Well, no, I can search that information in just a few seconds, I don’t need to pin it. So I can cook? As if I actually use the recipes I pin. For all the housekeeping tips? Hardly. I’m happy when I get around to running the vacuum. So why? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I just like them. Spoken like a true hoarder.

Still, I stand by my earlier claim. I mostly love Pinterest, and it mostly loves me back. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to search up some dessert pins.



Damn You, Pinterest Divas

pinterest-pin-boardI’m sitting here in my office/studio/craft room (I haven’t settled on one  name for it yet) surrounded by boxes waiting to be unpacked, and cursing the people who have posted all those amazing office/studio/craft room pictures on Pinterest. I have the room, I have the furniture, and I have the stuff, but I don’t have the office/studio/craft room of my dreams. I don’t even have one worthy of a photo. At least not yet.

I had an idea in my head of what my space would ultimately look like, but as I’m sitting in it, the reality of my environment is slowly sinking in. It’s not Tiffany Blue. It doesn’t have a hardwood floor. There is no chandelier. There are no built in cabinets. None of the furniture is white. In fact, it looks a lot less like Pinterest and a lot more like a cluttered suburban bedroom with a desk stuck in the middle. Go figure.

More or less my fantasy studio

More or less my fantasy studio

The funny part about it is that the desk isn’t really even a desk. It’s a table, and it used to be my kitchen table. It’s from IKEA and it’s not terribly fancy, but it’s a great size, and it gets the job done. Add in two matching floating shelves for my flying pig collection and family photos, my four double cube units for quilting fabric, and my two big bookcases, and you might think I would be golden. You would be wrong.

I also have a set of matching IKEA drawers and a small Closetmaid nine cube unit. The fabric cubes and the big bookcases are brown, everything else is black. The walls and carpet are beige. Not a dull, ugly beige, but a modern pretty beige. Still, beige is beige. Stunning, right?

I can’t have a chandelier, I need my ceiling fan, and frankly it’s new and it looks pretty good. I won’t be getting hardwood flooring. I live in a super-dry climate and wood doesn’t do that well. Besides, the carpet is new. The paint job is new too, so Tiffany Blue will have to run its course in other people’s homes. I do love it, but will I next year? Beige is forever, people. Looking around, it occurs to me that I actually sort of like my space. I have my books, my fabric, my pigs, my computer, and my sewing machine. I have room to work, and if I’m in the middle of a mess I can shut the door and nobody has to know. I more than like my space, I’m growing to love it.

No, there are no cute decals on the wall about home and family and living and laughing and loving. And no, I don’t have color coordinated bins for my supplies or a chevron printed office chair, but I have space. I have space to think and plan and create and design and write and sew and dream and wonder. I have space to display the things that inspire me and space to store the tools I need to help me turn those inspirations into finished products. My room may not be Pinterest worthy, but I do love it here. Now if I could only get the rest of those infernal boxes unpacked…