You know and I know that I’m amazing, but (hold on to your crochet hooks) I didn’t get this way on my own. I know, I know. “But you’re so unique and talented”, you’re thinking. “How could you be anything but a gift from the gods themselves?” That is a good question, and a valid point, but I can assure you I am a normal human being (I mean, cooler than most, obviously) and I was raised by a family just like the rest of you minions.
I was reflecting the other day on what made me so awesome after reading Mi Madre’s blog post about quilts that her grandmother made for me and my sister as babies. That sentence right there tells you a lot. Not only does my mom blog, (and my dad, and my sister, Beans), she taught us from an early age to value and revere handmade items, and to treasure things passed down through the family.
I have also learned some of my crafting skills from my family. My maternal grandmother taught me and Beans to crochet, and Mi Madre taught me the basics of quilting. We were always given free reign with arts and crafts as kids; maybe a little too free since Beans enjoyed biting the tips off markers. Mom taught us a lot about jewelry making, and sculpting beads, and just general crafts. Art, crafting, and DIY were always encouraged in our house. My dad has mad skillz when it comes to home repairs, which I’ve tried to exploit, but not that well.
Basically, since it’s Mother’s Day, I’d like to say thank you to all the women in my family who have not only passed down important skills, but have also passed down the knowledge to value these skills and their products. Thanks so much, and I love you. I hope you liked this blog post because I forgot to send a card! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!
Here are even more pics of our fabulous antique adventures:
The best part about shopping with Beans and Mi Madre, is that we just walk around mocking all the horrible things we find. We love to pick out hideous things to traumatize each other with. We’re constantly asking each other “Who would make this? How on Earth did this object actually get mass-produced?” (aside from the Fonz puzzle. Who WOULDN’T want one of those??) When we find bizarre ceramic animals we give them names, like Sarcastic Deer and Skeptical Puppy. The snark is the entertainment, and it is endless. If we could be drinking at the same time, it would be so awesome the time-space continuum would rip apart from too much awesome being in one location. Which is why we stay sober. For the benefit of the Universe. YOU ARE WELCOME.
I just want to leave you with one final image. When I was uploading all these photos, the computer froze on this image for a good 20 seconds, and it was slightly disturbing. It is hypnotic, yet frightening, alluring, yet repellent. I give you:
You guys are already jealous of how cool my parents are, but just you wait. On Black Friday, did they run around town hunting for insane deals, biting and clawing people to buy Christmas gifts? No. They spent the day in my attic. We have a (fortunately) tiny attic space, but it backs up against Hubby’s and my bedroom. In the summer time, that section of roof just bakes in the sun, and that heat sets up camp in our living quarters to torture us.
The solution? Radiant barrier. This stuff resembles silver bubble wrap. You simply staple it to the under-side of the roof, and it reflects heat right back out before it has the chance to make you miserable. My hope is that it will also keep the AC unit itself cooler, so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Here you can see some of the completed sections.
Personally, I find attics to be frightening. There appears to be a floor, but you can’t actually walk on it or else you’ll fall through to your death; there’s a chinzy little ladder to climb up and down that seems like it might collapse so you fall to your death; there are bugs and itchy insulation that you can’t touch or you’ll get cancer. I held onto the rafters for dear life with every step, terrified that I would fall and my useless T-Rex-like arms would fail me. At least it wasn’t hot in there.
To figure out how much of this stuff you need, measure the area to be covered, and measure the space between the joists (aka the boards running along the slopey ceiling area) so you know what width to cut your pieces. It comes in rolls at home improvement stores, and it’s fairly inexpensive.
You only need a staple gun to install it. We had three, only one of which seemed to be functioning at a given time. I spent most of the time reloading, fiddling with, and swearing at each staple gun, attempting to make them work. Even the small amount of area I covered was hampered by the fact that I’m only 5’7″, and the ceiling is 8′. You may need a step ladder, but my dad is over six feet tall, so I just whined until he finished it for me. I did a lot of pointing as well.
Mom faithfully documented the whole thing for both of our blogs, and made dozens of trips up and down the balsa wood ladder of doom, bringing supplies, taking pictures, and taking supplies back down again.
If you are at all familiar with my dad, The Intrepid Traveler, you know he’s hilarious, although not always on purpose. When I was actually doing some work, this conversation occurred:
Me: “It’s getting a little crooked, is that ok?”
Dad: “Yeah, as long as it’s straight.”
He wasn’t being intentionally funny, but it cracked me up, regradless. Speaking of hilarious, the man knows I hate Newt Gingrich, so he “hid” a magazine, with Newt on the cover on top of one of my bookshelves. When I say “hid” I mean propped up so that his piggy little eyes were staring at me from across the room. I had to wait for a tall person to come over and get it down for me. The family that pranks each other…should live far apart to avoid repurcusions.
So thanks, Dad, for climbing around my attic like a monkey, and putting my home improvement skills to shame. And thanks for not finishing the beer. You must truly love me.
My parents are cool. Not only did they create me and Beans, which makes them cool by association, they give me weird stuff all the time. You know how much I love free stuff!
That’s right, Ronald Reagan paper dolls complete with an original Reagan-Bush campaign sticker from 1984! This is going on eBay immediately.
My Dad, The Intrepid Traveler, (who has been blogging much longer than I have) brought me a bottle of vodka from Russia! Only the best parents in the world buy booze for their kids.
I don’t have a name for this adorable little guy yet, but he has a home with my demented ceramic animal collection, featured in my third blog post ever.
I just love his fat little cheeks! Pictures can’t capture how hilarious he really is. These next couple of pics may not seem that exciting, but trust me, they are.
This quilt has returned home! Mi Madre did all the quilting on her machine, but couldn’t quite manage the corners:
I will cover that in the final installment of one of my earliest blog posts, about repairing this exact quilt. It’s all coming full circle, as though I planned it all out!!
A sack of pine cones!!! Also, seemingly not exciting, but it’s not every mom that would hike around on her farm gathering crafting supplies for her kid in the fickle Texas heat/cold. Yes, my parents live on a real farm in Texas. My mother has pet sheep that follow her around, and we regularly end phone conversations when she says, “Shoot, a calf got in the orchard. I have to let you go”. She then calls the dogs to herd the calf out the gate.
It’s funny because I used to get irritated when people think all Texans conform to the stereotypes, with farms, cows, knowing how to ride horses, etc. I had a conversation with a girl at a party once, expressing my irritation. She asked “Well do you know how to ride a horse?”, and I said “Yeah”. “Do you own cows?”, “My parents do.” Her snarkily raised eyebrow almost shut me up, but it’s me, so we know shutting up is rare. “We’re not typical!” She kind of snickered. What do you say to that???
Anyway, my folks gave me all kinds of useful stuff, like clothes, books, and craft supplies, and even gave me some stuff for my friends. Don’t be jealous of my cool parents; just befriend me and wait for the bounty to trickle down to you. Good minions will be rewarded.
Mi Madre found this letter she wrote to her mom back in the day when I was around 4 or 5.
“The times have really changed. I was singing ‘Mama’s little babies have shortnin’ bread’ to (my wonderful, amazing, clever daughter, who is the light of my life, apple of my eye, and my purpose for living), and she immediately sang ‘That’s enough shortnin’ shortnin’ bread, give those babies some carrots instead. They’ve got no added sugar…’ At this point she trailed off, not knowing what to rhyme with sugar. So I added ‘And they’re good for you, too. Then give ‘em a nap, they’ll be good as new’. (My darling, astounding, genius child, whose very existence improves the world) approves of the new version, much more than the old.”
You can see that I have always been full of good advice. And instead of my name, I simply wrote what Mi Madre was actually thinking. Probably.