Ten Things of Thankful, May 22nd.

Oh hey – another long weekend I get to enjoy! One of the many things I appreciate about no longer working in a pack house.

Happy #1)

Speaking of Pack Houses and the Vegetable Greenhouse Industry, there is a documentary out I would dearly love to see called “Migrant Dreams” by Min Sook Lee. I suspect that for a couple of months I worked with the Indonesian women featured in it.

Happy #2)

This – The shame of our disposable workers  – appeared in a Toronto paper. Even in best case scenarios, working conditions in these enormous food factories that our labor code calls “agricultural labor” are horrible. They’re horrible for all workers, not just the Temporary Foreign Workers, although they get the brunt of it. There is no limit to the hours per week worked, there are limits to break entitlements and it’s just a situation ripe for and rife with abuses by employers.

On one article I read a couple of years ago, a woman claimed that if she was provided with housing she would love to take one of those TFW positions. Little do people realize that some workers are housed in bunkhouses that are infested with bedbugs or otherwise simply not what we would consider livable. Bunkhouses are not hotel rooms, they are shared cooking and washroom facilities and rows and rows of bunk beds with only a curtain (if the worker is lucky) around the bed for privacy.

I know how badly employees in this industry are treated from personal experience, but I can’t say too much because of my current position. I want to see people fired up about how poorly our migrant workers are treated while they labor to put food on our tables, instead of blaming the migrant workers for everything they don’t have themselves. Of course I have been diligently avoiding reading the comments on these articles so I can retain some faith in our humanity.

Happy #3)

2016-05-20 20.40.14I have these Skechers shoes I bought right before I went to California. They are super comfortable – which is what I wanted – and they look as cute as sandals with capri’s and crop pants. Perfect for someone going in and out of greenhouses right?

Well as you can see, these are shoes that would look pretty stupid with socks, and after just 10 minutes of me wearing them without socks, my feet STINK so bad that I don’t even have to be sitting down to smell them. That’s right – I can smell them standing up. I wash these shoes, they come out of the washer and look great. Within an hour they’re full of foot funk again.

So I am happy they’re comfortable but wowza – there is nothing, absolutely nothing cute about the smell.

Happy #4)

Three day weekend – Whoo Hoo! Better yet? We get the off peak electricity rate for an extra day!

Happy #5)

Kathleen Wynne, our sorry excuse for a Premier, may have finally delivered the straw that broke the camel’s (or voter’s) back. Her government has proposed a plan that will see the Ontario Building Code outlawing natural gas furnaces by 2030 – it’s only 14 years away people! – and people are outraged! I’ve been aware of what they were going to do with our electricity rates since the days of Dalton McGinty, but somehow the Liberals convinced voters it wouldn’t really cost us that much and voters fell for the rainbows and unicorn glitter farts. People are finally seeing reality and it’s about time!

Happy #6)

Did I mention the 3 day weekend?

Happy #7)

I have all of my patio planters done for the summer. 2016-05-21 18.43.44 2016-05-21 18.42.37 2016-05-21 18.42.26 2016-05-21 18.42.18Now it’s on to the vegetable garden and the flower beds/landscaping.

Happy #8)

My oldest went camping for the weekend with his dad. He took his dog – Jackson with him. I love my son but sometimes when he leaves it’s like an enormous weight or a seriously black cloud has left my personal space. I will fully enjoy it while it lasts and be thankful for him when he returns.

Happy #9)

Kindle Unlimited! I’m not on good terms with my local library (something about late fines and a brand new Jeffery Deaver book my cat managed to cover in spaghetti with sauce) so this Kindle Unlimited subscription is wonderful. I’m getting way more out of that fee than I’ve ever gotten from my Netflix subscription.

Happy #10)

Realizing there are two books in the Harry Potter series that I had never read and that they are available through my Kindle Unlimited subscription!


Ten Things of Thankful

Bonus Happy #11)

It seems I buy domain names like some women buy shoes, but I’ve created a space just for my plant and garden posts. Best of both worlds because I will get to share more of what I learn and know through my job while keeping this space for the somewhat less professional things – like my experience with on-line dating that you can find here. Mind, the language is quite raw so read at your own risk.

Ten Things of Thankful – May 14th

Happy #1

It’s the middle of May already, even if at 10 Celsius (AKA 48), it isn’t feeling very spring like. But even though I’m still wearing my fuzzy socks around the house I’ve got my patio planters almost finished.

Fuzzy SocksHappy #2

2016-05-14 13.48.21The only thing my 4 matching planters need before they are complete is a bit more Tradescantia.

Tradescantia CuttingHappily it’s an easily propagated plant – these cuttings will root in no time. Fern after splittingThe 4 Kimberley ferns were actually a single massively root-bound plant until I peeled off the pot and sawed the root mass into quarters. Eleven dollars divided by 4 – only a couple bucks each!

Large Kimberley Fern Root-bound plant with pot peeled awayHappy #3

When I was shopping for plants, there were only 3 Rubber Fig available.

Rubber FigSince each of them had multiple stems in the pot I was able to split one up so I had a plant for each pot. This was the priciest plant I purchased – $3.99 each. I’ll be able to bring them indoors for the winter though, so as long as I don’t kill them they’ll be good for next year too.

Happy #4

Because of my job, I receive sample plants each year. One of this year’s treats were 3 of the Non Stop Mocca White begonia.

Non Stop Mocca WhiteI normally don’t choose white flowers (the spent blooms tend to look worse than other colors) but I adore Non Stop begonia. Getting the dark-leaved varieties was a bonus, because I knew I wanted to play with different colors of foliage and move away from the light (lime-green sweet potato vine, creeping jenny, etc.) into the darker side of things.Lysimachia - Creeping Jenny Gold

I also get to try out a couple of new plant varieties that aren’t offered to consumers until next spring, like this begonia below.

Funky - a new begonia variety for 2017Sadly some of the samples are petunias. I’ll give them my best effort, but I really don’t get enough sun anywhere in my yard for them to do their best.

Happy #5

Between the sample plants, splitting the large fern, and propagating what I can, the 4 planters for my deck will only cost me $23 each – including new pots. By planting my own I save money and because these planters aren’t as far along as they would if I bought finished (stuffed full of plants and calling your name in the garden center) they will be easier to keep watered.

Assorted Tropical PlantsEach planter has a Kimberley Fern, a Rubber Fig, a Helichrysum Silver Spike, a few Tradescantia, Polka Dot Plant and one single flowering plant – Non Stop Mocca White Begonia. I feel as if I’ve finally mastered foliage with flowers planters as opposed to flowers with foliage.

Happy #6

Side Bed reasonably weed freeMy side bed is relatively weed free and ready to plant soon with some Dragon Wing Begonia.

Dragon Wing BegoiniaHappy #7

Last year’s big efforts paid off this spring with a much easier start to the season.

Garden GhostsHaving those raised planters already built and filled made it easy to get the cool season vegetables sown early. It’s probably the first time in 25 years I’ve had my lettuce planted on time. I wish I had tagged the seeds I’ve already sown though, they’re sprouting now and I can’t remember what some of them are.

Happy #8

So far this year we’ve had fewer monsoons. When it rains we still get more of it and faster than normal, but not as much as last year. Last year we had so much of it that the yard had a bit of a poopy smell from rotting vegetation.

Happy #9

Because I haven’t had to spend very much money this year on the yard, maybe I’ll be able to look after some of the bigger projects on my list this summer. Things like bringing in gravel and possibly adding some dry-creek beds and rain gardens to help manage the water that runs into my yard from adjoining properties.

Happy #10

Rejoining the TToT community after a long while away.



Ten Things of Thankful

New Patio Pots – DIY or Buy?

Over the weekend I had a super ambitious plant to DIY my own fiberglass pots. I spent hours on Google, searching for how to’s (there are surprisingly few specific to making planters) and watching YouTube videos on how to fiberglass. I even bought the resin, fiberglass mat, and 2 cans of spray paint. Total cost?

Over $70!

And that would not have been the full cost, because I still needed some sort of frame work or mold to fiberglass over.

So I gave my head a shake and went to Wal-Mart. Where I bought four 20″ chocolate brown plastic planters for $9.96 each. At that price, I’m left to wonder if it was even worthwhile to spray paint my patio pots last year – a can of spray paint is $7.96. Spray Painted Patio Pots - FlakingSure it made my pots look great last year, but it only lasted for one season.

Old Grudges

Sometimes when I read a book, the most profound message I take from the author’s words is likely one that was never intended by the author. For me, My Sister’s Keeper by Jody Picoult was one of those books.

What struck me wasn’t that Anna Fitzgerald struggled with balancing her needs against the needs of her very sick sister Kate. It was that Jodi Picoult wrote about the very real human emotions we, or at least I,  struggle to bury every day while trying to be ‘good people’, because if an author understands that daily battle well enough to write about it, then surely people other than myself must face that struggle all the time.

At the time it was a revelation, something that said “okay, yeah you’re probably different from most people, but not completely alone”, because if she could write how I would think and feel in that situation, then other people must think and feel the way I do right? Still waters run deep and all that, so maybe other people are just better at hiding that part of themselves or perhaps they just don’t feel the need to lie awake at 3 am beating themselves up about it when they slip.

It’s human nature to toss out those little platitudes and quotes we all occasionally let drop from our mouths like dribbles from a cup we haven’t properly sealed our lip to. Ones about forgiving and forgetting and moving on. About being a happy successful adult who doesn’t hold a grudge. Hell you can’t go on the good ol’ Facebook without seeing a few of them written in a pretty font over top of a picture of some gorgeous woman that we all secretly want to be. Or is it just me that wants to be that beautiful woman with the lovely figure, because surely she’s got life figured out exactly right.

She probably isn’t holding a grudge about an office situation that happened at least five years ago or the ex that’s been an ex for long enough that he should only be a distant memory. She would probably only have fond memories of her time with that same ex because she’s got life down pat and she’s figured out the key to happiness ever after right? Obviously she must because a beautiful outside has never hidden a rotten core in the history of humanity.

Yet time and time again, no matter how many soothing layers I lay over my own toxic memories and past grudges, they come bubbling up and out of my mouth. Bitter words like acid that make me burn with shame. The type of words usually delivered with a smirk and a wink because the enemy of my enemy is obviously my friend, so ‘wink wink’ are you my friend?

In the dead of night, my conscience reminds me that those words that slipped past my lips said more about me than my former co-worker or past lover, and none of it was good. At 3 am it’s easy to pledge I’ll do better and be better while trying to lay down another layer of ‘good people don’t’ in hopes of containing the sludge I still struggle to neutralize. Yet somehow as soon as I’m around other people for longer than five minutes here it comes, spewing out like a soda belch that shatters any good impressions I might have made instead.

Someday I may get the hang of letting my grudges go, for now I would settle for getting better at keeping them hidden.

On-Line Dating, Soy Sauce and Travel

Right around Christmas, I had this brilliant idea to try on-line dating. Not that I’m even sure I want a man underfoot, but you know someday these boys of mine will want to leave the nest and when that happens maybe I’ll regret my singledom.

I’m not sure how hot a woman has to be to get a viable date offer on an on-line dating site, but apparently I’m a long way from that hot. My most notable offer was from a fellow who had no teeth, no job, no vehicle and thought I should be honored to drive to where he was and leap on his magic swizzle stick.

Ladies I saw the hair on that man’s head, and even with all of his other fine qualities, there is no way in hell I ever want to see the bush that would have come flying out of that man’s pants – or anything else that was in his pants. We’re talking Beetlejuice look-alike, with fewer conversation skills.

So I’ve spent the past three months or so wallowing in books while reveling in singledom and never hearing a man wonder why my dishes aren’t done or there are two or four loads of laundry piled on a chair waiting for me to fold them, or better yet, someone to just wear them so I can skip the folding all together.

But now it’s time to quit wallowing because this weekend I’m off to California for a week. Which means I’ve gone from zero to full on panic mode. Actually it started Saturday with a shopping trip for suitable clothing. Monday was shopping for food that could be ready and stored in single serving containers for my boys to eat while I’m away.

I spent at least ten minutes trying to remember which soy sauce I had at home. The one I don’t like and was waiting to use up, but then decided soy sauce isn’t that freaking expensive so why use up soy sauce I don’t like when the store has soy sauce I do like. Happily the soy sauce I bought wasn’t the same soy sauce I had at home and don’t like so we’re good.

Tuesday was the night to make two pans of lasagna, fried rice and honey garlic chicken. I won’t be able to serve fried rice before September once they’ve spent a week eating it, but that’s life. Lasagna of course is no issue, up until recently both of my boys thought that was only served for Christmas Eve.

That just leaves giving myself a pedicure, shaving my legs, packing, reserving parking, and making sure there are enough provisions left behind for the boys while I’m away while obsessing about night wear and hot flashes and wondering if the hotels have laundry facilities.

I Won’t Be Grateful For Less, Because I Deserve More

I’ve written about the bitter taste of grateful before, and I don’t mean it to sound as if I don’t appreciate the many blessings in my life, because I do. One thing I don’t appreciate though? Men who think I should be grateful for their attention.

So here’s the thing, I’m raising two young men. I have an awesome father who loves and appreciates my mother every day. I have Uncles who do the same with their wives. Because of these fine and wonderful men, I try so very hard to never fall into the habit of judging all men by the actions of a few. But you guys who think you can offer to ‘service’ a woman like she’s a cow in the field and you’re the only bull in sight? You guys suck. You want to know why you suck? You suck because…

I. Have. Value.

I have raised two fine young men – in spite of their father and his own demons – I have raised them mostly on my own. I am one mother of many who have done the same and created men without the man who should have shown them by example how to be men. Both of my boys have held part-time jobs from 15 on. Both of them buy their own clothes and pay their own phone bills – since they were 15.

While neither of them have chosen to go to college or university they are fine. My youngest may still be finding his way, but my oldest? He bought his own fucking house at 22. I did that. I took them from infants, through boyhood and grew them into men any mother or father would be proud of. I taught them how to care for the ones they love and respect themselves. And when it was all said and done? I encouraged my boys to let go of the past and develop an adult relationship with their father.

I own my own damned house. I pay the mortgage from money I earn and it will be mine free and clear in less than 5 years. I pay for the upkeep. I change the filters in my own damned furnace and when the tap leaks I fucking fix it. I’ve paid for every single window in this house and the siding too. I made it comfortable before I even thought to make it pretty. I know every single quirk and flaw in my home. I paid for every fucking screw and I know where they’re buried too.

I spent the week before my 45th birthday fixing my car so it would pass emissions. I spent the time to figure out what I needed to do. I called around for parts and then used my own damn tools to fix it. I fixed my own motherfucking car!

I crocheted two fucking hats over the New Years holidays while you sat at home jerking off to porn and crying into your beer. Two hats big enough to fit my fat head. You want to know why my head is fat? It’s fat because I’m fucking smart. I read science articles for fun while you’re jerking off into a sock.

I spent my Friday evening making home-made pizza that was to die for. I made a kick-ass meal for my family that didn’t cost me $50 on top of a full week of kick ass dinners that my guys were grateful for. On Saturday I made chicken soup with home-made egg noodles. On Sunday I made my own sourdough bread. And doing all that satisfied me in a way your offer to ‘service’ my needs never will.

Tomorrow? I’ll wake up and make sure my boys are off to their jobs with good lunches. I’ll pay bills with money I earned and I’ll do my job. At the end of the day, I’ll serve another kick ass satisfying meal. And while I’m doing all that…

I. Will. Be. Grateful.

Because there are so very many things in my life I am grateful for.

  • I’m grateful to have raised two healthy young men.
  • I’m grateful they are finding their way through life.
  • I’m grateful both of my parents are alive, healthy and still so very much in love with each other.
  • I’m grateful for the job I have and that so far I’ve never faced the trauma of unemployment.
  • I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the food in my fridge and the clothes on my back.
  • I’m grateful for my health and physical well-being.

I. Will. Not. Be. Grateful….

When some man decides I must be desperate and offers to ‘service’ my needs. I have a handheld shower that knows exactly what I like and doesn’t give a flying fuck when I last shaved my legs. And while we’re on the topic of shaving legs? If I peel myself up off of my sofa and shave my legs for you? You had better be capable of carrying a god damned conversation beyond what your favorite sex position is.

When some man is willing to ‘let’ me sleep with him, love his children like they are my own, cook, clean and grocery shop for him, and do all of that while trying to maintain my own home and family? That’s work asshole and I deserve to get as much as I give because what I’m giving has value. You don’t want a relationship but you want all the comforts of a wife? Hey, I want to win the lotto jackpot, but life is never that easy and neither is any partnership worth having. I deserve someone who is willing to give as much as he receives – without keeping score.

And while we’re on the topic of keeping score? Sex is mutual motherfucker. You want to keep track of how many BJ’s you get and how many days since the last one? Well you go right ahead because I know how to count too, and when I keep score? I don’t track the how, I track who made it to the finish line and how often. So far the only 1 for 1 relationship I’ve ever had is with that hand-held shower, so do you really want to go there?

You don’t want a relationship? You want to be ‘friends’ only, but friends with benefits? Well guess what? I am a grown ass woman who doesn’t always expect love from chemistry, but you need to be a fucking friend before you get the benefits. You want easy gratification without an ounce of effort – google your favorite flavor of porn and find yourself a sock.

Like 99% of the population, I am neither astonishingly beautiful nor am I repulsively ugly. I am average and being average does not make me unworthy. I have earned every ounce of respect and admiration I demand. Whether by my hand or by my will, I have created my own path and I have traveled it on my own two feet while carrying my own burdens.

I have value and if you don’t want to know or appreciate my value then just walk on by, because …

I Won’t Be Grateful For Less Than I Deserve.



2016 – Because If Not Now, When?

2016During the mad chaos of painting and cleaning and installing flooring these past few months, I’ve spent more time thinking about what I want to say here than I have spent actually saying it. I’ve blogged sporadically for four or five years now. In 2012 I started blogging as My Half Assed Life. I dreamed up the name one night after one (or five) too many drinks while I reflected on my half-assed boyfriend. The one who loved having me hang-out in his garage, cook and bake for him, take his children shopping and otherwise amused, do his grocery shopping, oh and of course the obvious stuff too. The thing is, after five years it was becoming pretty obvious that he might be loving all the things I was doing for him but he did not love me.

Even worse, he was constantly on my back about my kids. Since his dad was okay with him quitting school without his grade 12 to work and pay a mortgage (that his father held) that should be good enough for my kid too. And since he was an every-other weekend father who did his parenting from his garage with a beer in hand while his teens hung out in the house, he found the mouthiness that comes from teens who are actually being parented, shocking. No way would he ever stand for that from his kids (who were allowed to do as they pleased at his house while their mother did the heavy lifting) and mine should be tossed out of the house for it. Spoiler – that wasn’t going to happen no matter how much he bitched.

There were also the multiple times I heard how my oldest malingered while recovering from a Pilon Fracture of the ankle and subsequent orthopedic surgery because the half-assed boyfriend had made it through his broken ribs without any pain medication (beer and weed don’t count I guess). After all he sneezed a lot, so that made his broken ribs far more severe than a broken ankle that required having screws and plates drilled into bone. He also felt that he knew better than the surgeon, nurses and other health care professionals who insisted that there should be absolutely no weight placed on that ankle for at least 9 months. I guess the weed was giving him delusions of a medical degree on his wall.

So looking back, it’s really no surprise that the half-assed relationship imploded a few months later, even if it was devastating at the time. What is surprising is that it didn’t end with me kicking his ass to the curb. Nope, I was the one who got dumped. I didn’t even get all of my stuff back, I sure as hell didn’t get my really good wireless router back (yes, I am still bitter about that and intend to be for a very long time).

I am truly ashamed that I tolerated that nonsense for longer than a half-minute, because he wasn’t in any way worthy of my time or my care. But you know who was worthy of all that time and care? Me, I was worthy of it. So here’s the thing – when I started Heels and a Toolbox I wanted it to be a reminder to myself and every other single woman out there – you’ve got this.

You can be single and be happy, and I don’t mean just telling people you’re happy with your single life to save face happy either. I mean real happiness and true contentment with your life as a single woman (or man). You can in fact love your single life so much that you question whether you even want to try a relationship, whether you’re really willing to expend your energy and oh so precious free time on someone who may or may not be worthy of you.

You can look after your own house or apartment. So many things seem intimidating if you’ve never done them before, but I think there are a lot of men out there who wish we would stop assuming that men are good at patching drywall or fixing a leaky tap just because they’ve got a penis in their pants. In fact I want you to stop that shit! Everybody, man or woman, learns how to do stuff the same way – by doing it. Fucking it up is always a possibility, whether you’re a guy or a girl, but after it’s done I bet you’ll know how you would do it better the next time.

You can look after your own car. I watched my son spend almost his entire summer sitting under The Duck Dynasty truck with his iPad in his hand. By the time it was over, he had dropped his transmission to replace his clutch and most of the components for the clutch’s hydraulic system. He replaced his ball-joints, tie rods and I have no idea what else. He didn’t know a damn thing about it before he started. So I’m not saying get out there and drop your tranny, but you can check your tire pressure and oil or even change your oil. And hey, if you’re up for it then go ahead and drop that tranny to replace the clutch, just don’t expect to find a tutorial for that here.

You can raise your children/teens/young adults by yourself and you’ll do it better without the judgement of some every-other weekend Daddy who’s only real concern for his own children is to bitch about the support he pays. Dote on your children – even your male children. Don’t think of it as making mama’s boys, that isn’t what it’s about. It’s about teaching your children/teens/young adults by example how to care for the people they will some day (you hope) love, not by doing everything for them but by doing the things you do do, with love and care.

Most importantly? You’re only as lonely as you want to be. You would be surprised how many of your married friends welcome a chance to get together and play cards or watch a movie sans spouse. Even happily married women crave time away from their spouses on occasion. Learn a new craft or rediscover an old one. Binge watch Netflix in your rattiest pj’s without worrying about when you last shaved your legs. I honestly can’t remember once in this past year being bored with my own company.

Enjoy your life as it is now at this moment. With our without a partner because if not now, when?

Ten Things of Thankful – December 25th!

I missed linking up last week, and I have no idea if there will be a TToT linkup this weekend, but I missed it for a very good reason. With it being the last weekend before Christmas, it was time to knuckle down and get my house company ready. I host the family dinner Christmas Eve, and I sometimes think the entire last six months was about getting ready for that one evening. Sure when that day came there was still some fluffing and stuffing that happened, and my bedroom door was firmly closed to hide the mess behind it but it didn’t stop me from feeling pride over my home and all that has been done this year either by my hand or by my will.

FlooredThe flooring that is finally installed in two rooms (there are still two more to go when I’m ready to start tearing apart rooms again.

From the front Finished Rattan Chair 2The comfy chairs that were made over by my hand.


The shelf that I painted and then filled with collected glassware (perhaps black isn’t the right color to show off green glassware) with the plants I’ve managed to keep alive and the telephone lamp that used to live on top of my great-grandmother’s TV.

Sofa and Coffee Table

The sofa that finally fits my home with the corner section removed (you know that corner section took up 12 square feet of floor space and only seated one?), the vintage coffee table purchased through a Facebook group in front, and my father’s grandmother’s paintings hanging above. The two on either end with their black frames look so much better than before.

Vintage Condiment or Relish server

The relish tray, a value village find, that I used for cream cheese and pepper jellies.

My tree

The tree, decorated with memories and origami paper stars made by my hand.

My family history

The family tree written in my grandmother’s schoolteacher hand, finally framed and displayed – even if it is only an old photocopy of the original.

I’m also loving this years unseasonably mild temperatures. Yes, I realize it’s an indication of global warming, but so were the past two years of extremely cold winters. Both are symptoms of the same problem but this year’s symptoms are far more pleasant.

I’m also grateful to have passed my emissions test. My birthday is right before Christmas and so it is also time to renew my license plate sticker ($108), but this year I needed to have an emissions test and my check engine light was on. Matt borrowed a device to read the codes, I replaced the Cam Position Sensor ($70) and the Intake and Exhaust Cam Position Actuator Sensors ($55 each) and then did not drive the car enough to pass the first test ($35) so had to go back the next day for a second test (half-price so only $17.50). All of that and my car runs exactly like it did before I started.

And now I get to enjoy a three day weekend with no family obligations and the bulk of my normal weekend chores already completed.


Ten Things of Thankful

Resolving the Christmas Ornament Dilemma

I can get in my high-horse about just about anything if you catch me in the right mood, but when it comes to issues I really care about working conditions is top of the list. And while I’ve never been one to spend a lot of time worrying over this years Christmas decorating “theme” and usually just barely get the tree up in time to take it down, this year I kind of needed ornaments. Apparently the ornaments of your childhood only last so long and through so many kids, cats and dogs before 45+ years of wear and tear leaves the tree looking sort of bare.

So here is my dilemma. Most Christmas decor is made in China, which doesn’t bother me except for the fact that some of it is made under deplorable conditions. We’ve all seen the young man covered in red flocking right? I ignored my inner activist and purchased a fake tree this year. It’s even ‘gasp’ flocked, but I know I’ll use it for a number of years and after 3 years it’s paid for itself in what real trees would have cost.

But the new ‘flocked’ tree was still short of ornaments and looking pretty bare. I looked at ornaments, some of them were even on sale, but all of them were made in China and I kept seeing that young man covered in red flocking every time I looked at them. Even the ones that weren’t red or flocked.

So I decided I was going to make ornaments. Except I dare you to walk into a craft store and find craft supplies that aren’t made in china. All of those tiny bottle brush trees, ribbon, glitter and cute little snowflake cut-outs. Every single one of them made in China under dubious working conditions. Then I saw these really neat looking origami stars, and decided to give it a whirl.

Freezer Paper and metallic spray paint

I started with freezer paper (made in an undisclosed location) and after ripping off a length of it, used metallic spray paint (made in Canada) in copper and brass color to add some bling. Once it was dry I fan-folded the length of freezer paper to cut out my pentagons.

Fist Fold

I’ve spent a couple of evenings folding while watching TV. It cuts down on the whiskey and cigarette consumption if my hands are busy. Finished StarWith this new tree,  there are lots of ‘flocked’ branches, but they are all rather close together. It makes for a nice looking full tree, but doesn’t leave a lot of ‘drop’ room for ornaments. These paper stars fill in the gaps nicely without any hooks or loops. I just nestled them in among the branches and filled in the gaps.

My tree

The best part? Nobody got covered in flocking while earning pennies to make them.

I’m making some more complex ornaments too, but considering I just got started they may be posts for next Christmas. I like to call it planned procrastination.

Ten Things of Thankful, December 11

Here I sit at the computer with my coffee and all around me is chaos. The real reason I haven’t yet posted after pictures of my floors is because I am struggling to find homes for All The Stuff. Through the week, there are dishes, dinner to cook and more dishes. On the weekend there’s laundry to wash and fold and more laundry yet. When did my weeks turn into this endless drudgery of not keeping up?

I’m just going to blame it on these shorter days and see what I can do to make a dent in the squalor this weekend.

So with that in mind…

Happy #1)

My counters are in the same state they were at the end of last weekend, so anything I get done this weekend is progress.

Happy #2)

Filing. I’ve always hated filing, but I got the job started yesterday and should have it wrapped up pretty quick today.

Happy #3)

My laundry is almost caught up, and I’ve already gathered the hoarded wet towels from both boys rooms so no surprise laundry dump right after I finish the last load.

Happy #4)

Justin had work this week. Temporary work, but money is money, and I’m happy to not have to worry about his phone bill.

Happy #5)

Sorted EntryThis space is sorted – for now at least. It’s a sort of utility room off the front door. Odd in shape, it’s nearly impossible to keep tidy. We’ll see if the shelving helps.

Happy #6)

Matthew is finally awake so I can get started on the cleaning. I’ll focus on being grateful that he’s awake and try not to let the fact that he woke up bitching spoil my morning.

Happy #7)

A picture of a very naughty looking vegetable messaged to me by a friend.

Happy #8)

Upholstered OttomanThe makings of a “Doggy Daybed”. Currently our two dogs enjoy their bean-bag chairs. Me not so much. Whether they’re being used for seating or dog beds, bean bag chairs look like a pile of laundry on the floor and I already have real piles of laundry hanging around. Come outside and playAfter seeing how much they enjoyed lounging on Matt’s truck seat (yes, that really is the bench seat from a truck in my house) last winter, I’ve had the idea of making them an upholstered bench lurking in the back of my mind. Finding one that only needs to be re-upholstered for $14? I call that awesome – even if I really wasn’t planning to work on any “projects” this weekend.

Happy #9)

If I manage to get all of the rubble sorted enough to pull out my sewing machine and upholster the doggy daybed, I’ll be able to look after some mending at the same time.

Happy #10)

For now, the doggy daybed is a handy surface for sorting out the excess of crap I have.